Farm Policy

August 10, 2012 • Volume 22, Issue 29
Does U.S. farm policy promote unhealthy eating?
By Jennifer Weeks


A vendor prepares a fruit display (Getty Images/Justin Sullivan)
A vendor prepares a fruit display at a San Francisco farmers market on June 13, 2012. Congress is wrestling with a sprawling new farm bill that strongly influences what Americans eat, how the food is grown and how much it costs. (Getty Images/Justin Sullivan)

Congress is debating a new farm bill, a sprawling measure typically enacted every five to seven years that sets broad directions for U.S. agriculture policy. Current proposals would eliminate some hotly debated subsidies that mainly benefit large farmers. But the proposed bills would still provide nearly $1 trillion over the next decade for programs including crop insurance, land and water conservation programs, disaster relief and food aid for the poor. Conservatives say the federal government spends too much on agriculture and advocate major cuts to food aid programs, which they see as runaway entitlements. Liberals oppose cutting food aid, which they say provides crucial help for needy Americans during a slow economic recovery. And many public health advocates want more support for production of healthy crops, such as fruits and vegetables, and for local outlets such as farmers markets that connect people directly to food producers.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Farm Income and Agricultural Prices
Aug. 10, 2012  Farm Policy
Mar. 04, 1959  Farm Surpluses and Food Needs
Jul. 18, 1956  Problem of Farm Surpluses
Nov. 09, 1955  Farm Prices and Farm Income
Oct. 27, 1953  Farm Price Supports
Apr. 21, 1948  Price Supports for Farm Products
Nov. 25, 1938  Farm Prices and Farmers' Income
Dec. 24, 1930  Farm Income and Business Recovery
Nov. 08, 1930  The Problem of Farm Taxation
Jul. 08, 1929  The Farmers and the Tariff
Jul. 30, 1924  Causes and Effects of Rising Agricultural Prices
Farm Loans, Insurance, and Subsidies