Archive for the ‘Farm Bill’ Category

Not a farm (Photo from Mr. Wright’s flickr stream)

Perusing the Congressional Budget Office’s 21-page Cost Estimate of HR2419, otherwise known as the Farm Bill (or at least, the version that passed in the House), is enough to make your head explode. Everyone knows the bill is a staggering behemoth filled with an incomprehensible number of different appropriations, but seeing the fine print is truly illuminating. A couple million here, a few billion there and soon you’re looking at some serious cash.

It’s no wonder we’re talking about $877 billion over a period ranging from 2008-2017:

$408.6 billion for nutrition programs (e.g., food stamps)
$88.7 billion for commodity programs, including direct and countercyclical payments plus loans and loan deficiency payments for growers of “covered commodities” (i.e., grains, oilseeds and cotton)
$70 million/year for the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program
$2 million for a Federal Milk Marketing Order Review Commission
$2.3 billion for the Wetland Reserve Program
$221 million for the Market Access Program
$294 million for Rural Development Programs, defined as “grants to producer organizations to enhance the value of agricultural commodities”
$800 million to “cover the subsidy costs of guaranteed loans for biofuel plants”
$265 million for direct spending on research of organic agriculture and specialty crops (keep in mind that “specialty crops” are anything other than commodity crops like grains, oilseeds, cotton, rice, corn and soybeans)
$11 billion for foreign food assistance programs from 2008-2012 (procured, of course, stateside and not necessarily close to the area in need of the assistance)
$220 million from 2008-2012 for programs to “promote and research energy production from agricultural and other biomass sources”
$193 million for “miscellaneous provisions” for a “wide variety of programs” including grants to reduce the production of methamphetamines from anhydrous ammonia and the creation of a National Drought Council, among others.

I’m not saying that there aren’t plenty of worthy things being funded in the Farm Bill. But how on earth can anyone keep track of where it’s all going?? I should have a line in there somewhere. Shit, if some guy living in Manhattan can pocket a few thousand, I don’t see why I’m missing out. Wouldn’t be but a rounding error in the general scheme of things.

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