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The U.S. Department of Agriculture sets ruinous farm policy that destroys land, poisons water, abuses farm workers, prioritizes yield over nutrition and cuts the connection between communities and food they depend on.
Food products are artificially cheap thanks to grants, subsidies and tax breaks doled out generously among the big players in the system: chemical companies, genetically engineered seed companies, transportation, insurance, corporate landowners, food processing, and big oil. Without artificially cheap oil, none of the current system would be economically viable.
We have fewer farmers. Bill Gates owns 269,000 acres of farmland. We have food deserts. We have terrible nutrition. We have raging diabetes. We abuse animals. We abuse the factory workers who kill and process them. We have killed the birds. We have neutered the frogs. We have eroded the soil. We have poisoned the water.
The USDA’s market expansion efforts force poor countries to accept our overproduced, artificially cheap commodities, undercutting their unsubsidized food, destroying their local economies and losing their proven traditional farming practices.
The USDA employs nearly 100,000 people for this work and has a 2022 budget of $29.9 billion. A lot of that money is earmarked to prop up profits by buying food from agribusiness and distributing it through “food aid.” We are expected to see this system as compassionate, instead of corrupt. The system guarantees profits for processed garbage and denies people the ability to make their own choices about what they want to eat, how they want it produced and where they want it from. It is not welfare, it’s sick-fare.
The USDA props up a system where most crops are grown more as a by-product of subsidy harvesting than as food for people. A small, community-based farmer competes directly with this corrupt, abusive system. Should we succeed despite this system, the USDA (not content with funneling the means of production to a few mega agribusinesses) has no problem redefining words like “organic” to render them meaningless and more profitable for their corporate clients or attacking small farm practices as “unsafe” and therefore illegal.
Filling out your surveys is effectively doing opposition research against myself. I will not be participating.
Owner, manager and lone laborer
Fusda Farm, Craftsbury
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