The “fiscal cliff” tax bill, which cuts spending and introduces federal tax increases, has been passed on January 1, 2013. It also includes a nine-month farm bill extension that will allow the current subsidizing of the already profitable factory farms to continue.
This means that another $5 billion will go to big farming operations in the form direct payment subsidies. Unlike family farms and organic farms, these farming enterprises hardly require this financial support as they are already making record profits.
A Band-Aid Solution
According to Craig Cox, senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources at the Environmental Working Group, with so many spending cuts taking place in order to reduce the deficit, it would have made sense to cut funding to factory farms as well.
“While a deeply flawed nine-month extension is marginally better than a deeply flawed five-year farm bill, this short-term band-aid is not good public policy,” said Cox. “A responsible measure would have cut direct payments and insurance subsidies and fully funded important conservation programs. It is critical that Congress craft a farm bill this year that supports family farmers and protects the environment.”
The “Fiscal Cliff” bill cuts funding for healthy food and water, family farming, and organic farming, which makes it a serious loss for healthy food initiatives as well as the economy.
“It makes little sense to cut support for organics, the fastest growing sector of the agriculture economy, and to curtail a long list of other initiatives designed to increase access to healthy food and create new economic opportunities for family farms,” Cox said.