Agriculture is now in the firing line for excessive government spending. Rather than the banks or auto makers who have received massive bailouts, food production is attacked in “Agriculture: Downsizing the Federal Government.”
This finger pointing goes from “an exploding number of USDA employees” to subsidies going to only to corporate farms to rising food prices to “farm areas dominating congressional ag committees.” Did you know that farmers are now wealthier than the average U.S. citizen? I had to watch it a couple of times to catch all the claims they made about how agriculture is growing the amount of taxes we pay.
Of course, it doesn’t mention the increase in the number of consumers or programs (e.g. WIC) administered by USDA. Nor does it show that 95%+ of farms are still family-owned, regardless of how they look. Tariffs and protectionism result in growing food prices for the poor, with no mention of food producers providing one of the basic necessities.
This should be a wake-up call that resonates across our agricultural lands. YouTube is one of the top two comprehensive search engines and now accounts for more than 25% of Google’s search queries. The number of people visiting video sites online has more than doubled in the past year. In that same timeframe, we’ve seen videos on animal abuses, greenhouse gases and policy pundits – all of which put agriculture in a very bad light. We have made progress in sharing videos about food production – see https://causematters.wordpress.com/producer-blogs/ for examples.
However, as 2008 draws to a close, I have to ask – are we doing everything we can to respond? Or even better, are we proactively handling these issues rather than being put on defense?