In My Opinion

January 9, 2013

In My Opinion: The 'Farm Bill:' Call it what it is

The so-called “Farm Bill” continues to be one of the more controversial aspects of our nation’s budget.

Possibly, this controversy exists because it is not a Farm Bill. It is a food, conservation and energy bill. Approximately 75 to 80 percent of the $284 billion of the five-year Farm Bill goes to food stamps and other nutritional assistance programs, not farm subsidies, as often presented by the media and subsequently misperceived by the public.

So, when and why did all this controversy begin?

Back in the presidential election of 1928, candidate Herbert Hoover promised “a chicken in every pot for Sunday dinner.” As a side note, the phrase, “a chicken in every pot” was actually coined by King Henry IV of France (1553-1610).

The need for the U.S. government to ensure a consistent supply of safe food, at affordable prices, is what resulted in the creation of the first Farm Bill in 1933.

In modern times, the “Farm Bill” is also known as the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008.

The Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 represents a mere 2 percent of the national budget and is largely dedicated (again 70 to 80 percent) to domestic nutrition assistance programs. These programs include but are not limited to The Women, Infant and Children (WIC) Program, consumer nutrition programs, food stamps, school lunches and breakfast programs.

The remaining percentage is divided among various agriculture-related programs, primarily crop insurance, shared-risk programs, farm-commodity price supports and conservation.

Combined, these efforts allow the U.S. consumer access to an abundance of safe, high-quality and inexpensive food not found in other countries.

Perhaps, what makes this bill so controversial is that all Americans benefit from its existence. In most developed nations, consumers spend more than 30 percent of their income on food. In the United States, consumers spend less than 10 percent of their income on food.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
In My Opinion
  • In My Opinion Follow Vt. lead on prescription drugs

    Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin recently called attention to a national crisis when he dedicated his entire State of the State message to address what he called Vermont's "full-blown heroin crisis," writes John Coppola of New York Association of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers Inc.

    March 12, 2014

  • In My Opinion: Rail companies must take action

    I write to commend emergency response officials in Essex County for taking a proactive approach to the increasing number of freight trains carrying crude oil through our communities on the Canadian Pacific line, as described in the Feb, 23 article, "Essex County developing disaster-response plans as rail traffic grows," writes Rep. Bill Owens.

    March 4, 2014

  • In My Opinion: Communal energy conservation urged

    Recently, several articles appeared in the Press-Republican about the City of Plattsburgh's electric rates and energy policies, writes SUNY Plattsburgh assistant professor Curt Gervich.

    March 3, 2014

  • In My Opinion: Support gave boost to broadcasting

    As many of you know, this is my 40th and final year of broadcasting Plattsburgh State Cardinal Hockey, writes WIRY broadcaster Ducky Drake.

    February 20, 2014

  • In My Opinion: Prison closures will increase danger

    In January, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision released its annual report on the state of New York's prisons, writes NYSCOPBA President Donn Rowe.

    February 18, 2014

  • In My Opinion: Everyone must commit to end smoking

    Smoking-related illnesses will cause 5.6 million children alive today to die prematurely unless smoking rates drop, the latest Surgeon General's Report says, write no-smoking advocates Glenn Pareira and Kendra Gertsch.

    February 12, 2014

  • In My Opinion: The right approach to youth sports

    Another youth basketball season is upon us, writes Town of Ellenburg Youth Director Chris Brooks. Local counties do a great job of organizing these leagues for our children to be able to participate and learn skills at a young age.

    January 8, 2014

  • In My Opinion: Fair evacuation plan needs review

    A year has come and gone with another great professional job done by our Clinton County Fair management, putting on its best yet entertainment.

    January 7, 2014

  • In My Opinion: New care models for aging population

    Our communities are experiencing a growing percentage of older residents, who are becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to health-care decisions, according to the administrators of local nursing homes.

    December 24, 2013

  • In My Opinion: Respect diversity of gender November is Transgender Awareness Month across the United States -- a time to celebrate the diversity of gender that many Americans, and especially many New Yorkers, share.

    November 25, 2013