Farming On Either Side of Pond

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The theme this season on the blog continues to be food; the cost, growing, and politics of food.  Recently, while preparing for my journey to Thailand (next week), I’ve noticed 2 big changes coming to the agricultural policies of both the US government and the European Union.  Which could spell a change in how our food is raised and from who and how we get that food.

On the US side there’s the Farm Bill, which was vetoed by GWBush but that veto was overturned by congress. An imperfect text which, as EWG analyists explain it:

throws a couple of small bones to a few grassroots causes but mainly ensures that the big dogs will continue to run agriculture – courtesy of the U.S. Treasury.

chartThe only potentially positive development with this farm bill is that meat will have to be labelled for orgin in the US. Otherwise as indicated by the quote above, the bill will continue to pour money on big agribusinesses who, unfortunately, also play a roll in the nation’s obescity epidemic (through pushing big products like high fructose corn syrup).

Meanwhile in the EU, new policies are being rolled out in relation to farming.  Among their decisions, they’ve increased the size of what kind of farm qualifies as small and therefore deserving of EU funds to protect and preserve such farms.  They also reduced the amount of subsidies to be paid to large farms.

For all the buzz about food prices, it is of interest to see what these two governments decide when it comes to agriculture. Especially in a situation where so many farmers on both sides are paid to NOT farm, despite a global food shortage.