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Hunger Games, U.S.A. By PAUL KRUGMAN

Major Crops Grown in the United States

In round numbers, U.S. farmers produce about $ 143 billion worth of crops and about $153 billion worth of livestock each year. Production data from the year 2011 for major agricultural crops grown in this country are highlighted in the following table:
Something terrible has happened to the soul of the Republican Party. We’ve gone beyond bad economic doctrine. We’ve even gone beyond selfishness and special interests. At this point we’re talking about a state of mind that takes positive glee in inflicting further suffering on the already miserable.
The occasion for these observations is, as you may have guessed, the monstrous farm bill the House passed last week.

Why the Government Should Pay Farmers to Plant Cover Crops

Globally, 2012 will likely rank as one of the ten hottest in recorded history, The New York Times reports. If it does, “it will mean that the 10 warmest years on record all fell within the past 15 years, a measure of how much the planet has warmed.” Here in the US, last year was far and away the hottest ever on record. In other words, climate change is no longer a theory or a model or an abstract worry involving future generations. It’s happening, now—and if you want to see its likely effect on farming, look at the breadbasket state of Kansas, where the same prolonged drought that reduced corn and soy yields is now pinching the winter wheat crop, as I wrote a few days ago. On Wednesday, the UDSA declared much of the wheat belt a disaster area because of the drought’s effect on the crop.

For decades, farm bills have had two major pieces. One piece offers subsidies to farmers; the other offers nutritional aid to Americans in distress, mainly in the form of food stamps (these days officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP).

Farm Program Pays $1.3 Billion to People Who Don’t Farm

EL CAMPO, Tex. — Even though Donald R. Matthews put his sprawling new residence in the heart of rice country, he is no farmer. He is a 67-year-old asphalt contractor who wanted to build a dream house for his wife of 40 years.
Yet under a federal agriculture program approved by Congress, his 18-acre suburban lot receives about $1,300 in annual “direct payments,” because years ago the land was used to grow rice.
Matthews is not alone. Nationwide, the federal government has paid at least $1.3 billion in subsidies for rice and other crops since 2000 to individuals who do no farming at all, according to an analysis of government records by The Washington Post.
Some of them collect hundreds of thousands of dollars without planting a seed. Mary Anna Hudson, 87, from the River Oaks neighborhood in Houston, has received $191,000 over the past decade. For Houston surgeon Jimmy Frank Howell, the total was $490,709.
Long ago, when subsidies helped many poor farmers, you could defend the whole package as a form of support for those in need. Over the years, however, the two pieces diverged. Farm subsidies became a fraud-ridden program that mainly benefits corporations and wealthy individuals. Meanwhile food stamps became a crucial part of the social safety net.
So House Republicans voted to maintain farm subsidies — at a higher level than either the Senate or the White House proposed — while completely eliminating food stamps from the bill.
To fully appreciate what just went down, listen to the rhetoric conservatives often use to justify eliminating safety-net programs. It goes something like this: “You’re personally free to help the poor. But the government has no right to take people’s money” — frequently, at this point, they add the words “at the point of a gun” — “and force them to give it to the poor.”
It is, however, apparently perfectly O.K. to take people’s money at the point of a gun and force them to give it to agribusinesses and the wealthy.
Now, some enemies of food stamps don’t quote libertarian philosophy; they quote the Bible instead. Representative Stephen Fincher of Tennessee, for example, cited the New Testament: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” Sure enough, it turns out that Mr. Fincher has personally received millions in farm subsidies.
Given this awesome double standard — I don’t think the word “hypocrisy” does it justice — it seems almost anti-climactic to talk about facts and figures. But I guess we must.  >>more<<
desert1
I have an even better idea they should really take a look at and make cuts too:

STOP GIVING MILLIONS IF NOT BILLIONS TO FARMERS NOT TO GROW CROPS AND STARVING NATIONS WHO THE MONEY ISN”T GOING TO THE STARVING.  U.S. START TAKING CARE OF YOUR OWN!


Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2011

Introduction

This Executive Summary focuses on the 2011 biotech crop highlights, which are presented and discussed in detail in ISAAA Brief 43, Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2011.
Biotech crops reached 160 million hectares, up 12 million hectares on 8% growth, from 2010, as the global population reached a historical milestone of 7 billion on 31 October 2011
2011 was the 16th year of commercialization of biotech crops, 1996-2011, when growth continued after a remarkable 15 consecutive years of increases; a double-digit increase of 12 million hectares, at a growth rate of 8%, reaching a record 160 million hectares.
Biotech crops, fastest adopted crop technology
A 94-fold increase in hectarage from 1.7 million hectares in 1996 to 160 million hectares in 2011 makes biotech crops the fastest adopted crop technology in the history of modern agriculture.
Millions of farmers globally elect to adopt biotech crops due to the benefits they offer
The most compelling and credible testimony to biotech crops is that during the 16 year period 1996 to 2011, millions of farmers in 29 countries worldwide, elected to make more than 100 million independent decisions to plant and replant an accumulated hectarage of more than 1.25 billion hectares – an area 25% larger than the total land mass of the US or China – there is one principal and overwhelming reason that underpins the trust and confidence of risk-averse farmers in biotechnology – biotech crops deliver substantial, and sustainable, socio-economic and environmental benefits. The 2011 study conducted in Europe confirmed that biotech crops are safe as animal feed.

Over 400 Companies that Aren’t Using GMOs in their Products


GMOs info from Richard Gee

As can be seen in our map, GM technology has been enthusiastically embraced in the Americas and in many Asian countries. By contrast, many European countries are subject to severe restrictions on growing GM crops. Developing countries are planting GM crops at a more rapid rate than rich countries.

Short URL: http://www.newsnet14.com/?p=126460

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