World's Fair

Subsidies and Small Farms

Another post related to the Science and the Farm Bill one.

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Image courtesy of Appalachian Sustainable Development (here)

Subsidies come in for a lot of debate. No controversy in saying that — right wing, left-wing, top-wing, no wing. The controversy is about what the subsidies are for, who pays for them, who gets them, and what else we could’ve got with that money. It’s here that you get a host of critiques about subsidies.

The Heritage Foundation, as we linked to before, is going to fight for reducing taxes under the cloak of fighting for taxpayer rights, not wanting their hard-inherited money to go to undeserving farmers. They interpret the subsidy as throwing money away, as giving to someone for doing nothing. You just can’t be more morally contemptible, they’ll say.

On another side, we hear from small farmers that the subsidies go to big agri-business, that they support the meanest, fiercest, most ecologically destructive industrial system over their small, local farms. This is the case made by Anthony Flaccavento, who had a small brief, “Hurting a Small Farm Near You,” in Sunday’s Washington Post, and who will be discussing the matter at today, Thursday, at noon. Flaccavento is the Executive Director of Appalachian Sustainable Development and a Food and Society Policy Fellow.

The new Farm Bill brings all of this out. I wonder how the conversation with Flaccavento will go. Someone should check it out and tell us.*

*You know, it said he’d be on-line in the newspaper, but I can’t find mention of it anywhere at the Post’s webpage.