Not the cream of the crop
December 22, 2008
Boston Globe Editorial
CORPORATE farming is so politically muscular that the industry has its own pet Cabinet department. In tapping former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack this week to run the US Department of Agriculture, President-elect Barack Obama made a conventional choice. But what's needed is radical reform.
Vilsack's record gives little indication that he will take on the farm lobby, which has supported bloated subsidies and price supports for industrial-scale agriculture.
Family farmers were once the backbone of the US economy. Today, the interests of agribusiness diverge from the needs of the eating public. The department is charged with recommending a healthful diet, but that duty conflicts with the department's usual role of promoting what US farmers produce. An ever-pudgier populace needs to eat more fresh vegetables, but federal policy promotes massive production of a small number of grains. Read More
Almost unbelievably, this opinion piece in the Boston Globe suggests in the margins that agriculture isn’t really necessary anymore. With comments like “its own pet Cabinet department” and “were once the backbone of the US economy”, the author has no appreciation for the unprecedented food production ability of the American farmer and rancher. Is there any other country on this planet that you would trade food production abilities with?