Farm subsidies

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

end_farm_subsidiesBoth the European Union and the United States pay subsidies to farmers for simply doing what they set out to do, farming; producing food for the people.

While we will all agree that farmers have an important role, that of feeding the people, being given handouts, in the form of EU or other subsidies, just cannot be justified.

No other business – or industry – in the EU or the USA is being afforded the same consideration as is farming and while, as said, feeding the people, that is to say, producing food for the nation, is important, this is not the way the proverbial cookie crumbles.

The subsidies in both Britain and the USA – for Britain did pay farmers a “bonus” already before the European Union Common Agricultural Policy ever came about namely already in the last war, World War Two, as did the US, to make it possible for farmers to provide “cheap” food for the nation and the troops, under difficult circumstances. But today almost every farmer seems to have become dependent on them.

Farms have gotten bigger, often run by corporations, with the little mixed farms having almost gone to the wall, and the machinery to run those farming operations has become so expensive – to buy and run – that most farms, apparently, can just about break even, with subsidies.

On the other hand farms in the USA that have returned to the old way of family farms and using horses and refusing government handouts (and not only the Amish and Plain People), are turning a profit. They are also – predominately – organic and thus their produce can attract a premium from the buyers.

While, however, “conventional” farmers get huge subsidies, especially in the USA, for planting and growing “conventional” and genetically engineered crops, organic farmers have to pay to have their produce certified organic before they can market it as such. The system is purposely skewed in favor of Big Agriculture to the detriment of the small mixed family farms.

What is required is a level playing field with subsidies removed and GMOs requiring labeling and organic being the norm.

© 2013