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Our current agriculture policy hands out billions of taxpayer dollars to large, profitable agribusinesses, and subsidizes the production of corn and soy, which are often processed into junk food ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and soy-based vegetable oils. The subsidies are heavily skewed towards the biggest players, with 74% of subsidies going to less than 4% of U.S. farmers. And since 1995, $17 billion taxpayer dollars have underwritten junk food ingredients – enough for every U.S. taxpayer to buy 19 Twinkies apiece, every year.
This year’s Farm Bill is a golden opportunity to end these wasteful subsidies and get our food policy right. Unfortunately, while the legislation approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee does make a few positive steps, like ending the egregious Direct Payments program, it would further entrench the equally wasteful crop insurance program, which has cost taxpayers $30 billion over the last decade. And it would create a costly new subsidy scheme that would lock in currently-high corn and soy prices and once again direct billions of taxpayer dollars to giant agribusinesses.
As this flawed legislation heads to the Senate floor, we urge Senators to stand with the public, not Big Ag.
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