It's everybody's favorite time of year again! That's right! It's Farm Bill time. Farm Bill time is that joyous time of year when all of those little problems in our government are aired out in public in one nauseating piece of legislation.
If possible, it would appear that this Farm Bill might be one step forward and two steps back; minus the one step forward. According to Alternet, the Farm Bill currently being hashed out in the House seems to surrender the battle against abusive practices of the USDA. The bill repeals formerly accepted regulations against some of the most abusive practices of the USDA against poultry farmers, uses a WTO loophole to repeal country of origin labelling requirements, and relaxes health and safety regulations on catfish.
If you're keeping score, that's USDA: 1, everyone else: 0.
Luckily the Senate bill is less obviously in the "repealing restrictions" business.
Another disheartening facet of the bill is the continued allowance of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in American agriculture. The fact of the matter is that they taint American food products and are hazardous to the health of anyone who eats American food products. However, they appear to be economically viable because they lower farming costs (although their economic benefits may be challenged by future health expenses caused by GMO-related issues).
The main manufacturer of GMOs is Monsanto Company, a publicly traded multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation. Monsanto has been protested by 2 million protesters in over 50 countries as off the end of May, making it arguably, the most hated company in the world.
But as long as money is power in the united states, public outcry will always come second to financial heft.
Is there a solution? Realistically, probably not. The best advice that I could find came from "Daily Finance."
"It seems that GMOs will inevitably become a larger part of our food supply, because the corporate motivator in the United States has proved to be stronger than the citizen motivator in recent years. A few protests won't change that. It will take concerted, long-running national efforts to change diets and attitudes before Monsanto and its peers are forced to loosen their grip on American farmlands. If you choose to be one of the people on the vanguard of that effort, make sure that you understand the science as it is, and not as you'd like it to be."
In the spirit of this season of giving and taking, I'd like to present a poem to suit the mood:
T'was the season of Farm Bill and all through the House (of Representatives)
All the lobbyists were stirring and coming to grouse.
And Pelosi in her kerchief and Boehner in his cap
Had just settled down to take all their crap.
The citizens were nestled all snug in their beds
While visions of a logical distribution of government resources not disproportionately prioritizing one tiny sector of the economy danced in their heads.
When high in the chamber, there arose such a clatter
The reps sprang from their offices to see what was the matter.
When what to their wondering eyes should appear?
A USDA rep. — to their hearts he brought fear.
"On Rubio, on Pawlenty, on Cook, On Griffin,
To the floor to ensure that this vote you're not missin'!
We won't have regulations, your health we wont spare
That you may ingest pesticides, our profits don't care.
Now beware those regulations and when your names they call,
Then dash away, dash away, dash away all."