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Debate: Are Farm Subsidies the Problem or Solution? SIDE: Farm Subsidies are the Problem!

Character: Congressman Farmdizzle who is playing a key role in the 2012 Farm Bill. The very first farm bill was established in the 1930s in order to stabilize farm prices by managing the supply of major crops such as corn, wheat and soybeans. In 2002, the Farm bill was renewed and made the subsidy payments permanent, which I strongly disagreed with. What we should have done was address the causes of the price drops. Prices began to drop in 1997 below the cost of production of that crop; hence farm subsidies were introduced in order to supplement the drop in price for the farmers. Now heres the catch, these subsidies are actually giving indirect subsidies to industrial farms and food processing companies, or agribusinesses! The government makes up the difference between the low prices paid by these agribusinesses and the farmers cost of producing the crops. Because there are only a few agribusinesses that hold the majority of the power in the food system, they are able to keep on paying farmers the low prices; there is no competition whatsoever, keeping the prices down. Additionally, the farmers have nothing to really gain out of the farm subsidies since on average they are only being paid $1200 a year on subsidies. So you might be thinking that farm subsidies are a good thing since agribusiness can purchase crops for cheap, giving us, the consumers cheap food prices. Sure this is true but let me give you the reality of farm subsidies and why they are actually a problem. According to the environmental working group, who is in charge of the farm subsidy database, corn subsidies in 2010 was $3.5 billion dollars while other subsidies such as dairy was only $74 million. Since 1995, the US has subsidized corn a whopping $77 billion dollars! The massive amount of subsidy for corn has led agribusinesses to buy corn for extremely cheap prices and in turn majority of products in the grocery store contain corn. A study done by Todd Dawson, a plant biologist at UC Berkeley, found a way to determine how much corn we consume. He concluded that us Americans look like corn chips on legs in reference to the extremely high percentage of corn found in our bodies, specifically hair. Dawson tested a reported and found out that the carbon in his hair was 69% corn! Additionally, Dawson stated, "I think where the danger comes in with corn is that much of the corn grown now in North America is going into making high fructose corn syrup. Foods like ketchup, salad dressing, soda, cookies, and chips all contain corn in the form of high fructose corn syrup. This has a direct negative effect on consumers health; the obesity epidemic is on the rise and 60% of children are obese or overweight. Now get this, apples subsidy is a mere $260million from 1995-2010! So if agribusinesses have to buy apple at a higher price, they will not only buy less, but also sell them at higher prices than products that contain the extremely cheap corn. This is why farm subsidies are a problem and not the solution. Farm subsidies barely help farmers; instead farmers are forced to grow crops that are heavily subsidized in order to stay in business. Farm subsidies are like giving free money to the already rich agribusinesses. The solution is to create competition within these agribusinesses.