A secret farm bill is certain to short-change California's diverse agriculture. Add to the list of likely losers: conservation interests, local and organic food advocates and defenders of down-and-out Americans who depend on food stamps.
At a time when the Bay states are asking farmers to do more to reduce pollution entering the Chesapeake Bay, there is danger that conservation incentives secured for Bay farmers in the last Farm Bill will be greatly reduced.
This summer, agriculture is again center stage in the policy debate. There's plenty of fat and waste in the farm programs, but there's also an urgent need for a new vision of American farming in the 21st century.
The last thing our country needs is a taxpayer-funded subsidy system that favors the very foods that contribute to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. But that's exactly what key members in the House are standing behind.
In 2009, USDA spent more than twice as much buying meat and dairy as it did on fruits and vegetables. What that means is that the USDA used taxpayers' money to buy about $1.5 billion worth of meat and dairy.
Bad federal policy and intensifying storms are washing away the rich dark soils in the Midwest that made this country an agricultural powerhouse and that remain the essential foundation of a healthy and sustainable food system in the future.
Legislation passed by House Republicans (no Democrats voted for it) slashed $747 million -- about 10 percent -- from the 2011 budget for the Special Supplemental Feeding Program for Women, Infants and Children.