It's the public face of our commitment to help agricultural operations of all sizes take advantage of new opportunities, meet the growing demand for local and regional food and succeed in America's diverse marketplace.
We assume our food system has somehow taken care of itself. The aisles of perfectly aligned boxes, and perfectly stacked produce reflect a system where a tomato is a tomato is a tomato, or an egg is an egg is an egg. Food is a commodity and it's all the same. But it's not.
While most Americans spend about 10% of their family's budget on groceries, about one-third of them actually spend closer to 20%, so large increases in grocery prices means less spending on consumer goods, which account for a great portion of our economic activity.
Monsanto's monopoly limits farmers' choices and threatens our livelihoods. But America's antitrust laws were enacted to protect us from this very situation. These laws are premised on the belief that competitive markets produce the best products, and they need to be enforced.
Some people get rich by creating good things, and they support many people. But some people -- they used to be called robber barons -- succeed at others' expense. So just as wealth isn't necessarily bad, "efficiency" isn't necessarily good.
The budget situation offers opportunities to reform American farm policy to make it more efficient and equitable -- at home and abroad -- but only if the issues are debated fully and openly and with all the stakeholders represented.