If you have ever wondered why junk food is almost always artificially cheap compared to healthy food, you need look no further than federal agriculture policy. Little do most people know that the federal government funnels billions of taxpayer dollars via the “Farm Bill” into large-scale crop systems that primarily grow genetically-modified (GM) soy, corn, cotton and other commodity crops used throughout the highly-processed, industrial food supply.
Every five years, Congress reviews the guidelines of the existing Farm Bill, and comes up with new ways to allocate the nearly-trillion dollar sum typically apportioned for American agriculture programs. And since existing Farm Bill provisions are set to expire on September 30, 2012, the Obama administration is currently pushing Congress to pass a revised Farm Bill known as the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012.
Hailed as encompassing “the most significant reforms in agricultural policy in decades,” the 2012 Farm Bill will allegedly end direct payments to farmers, end farm payments to individuals and entities whose gross income exceeds $750,000 per year, and consolidate risk management programs, among other things. But many of the provisions of the new bill still favor large-scale producers of mostly commodity crops at the expense of small-scale farmers, who receive little, if any, financial incentives or benefits.