Food Fight — Abstract
- Total USDA appropriations have roughly averaged $87 billion per year
for the past six years. Farm Bill programs largely determine spending
- Just five crops — corn, cotton, wheat, rice, and soybeans — receive
84 percent of all commodity supports.
- According to the Environmental Working Group, the richest 10 percent of farm operations receive more than 70 percent of all subsidy payments.
- Though the Farm Bill is often promoted as supporting small family farmers, three out of five farmers receive no subsidy payments at all.
- Over half of all USDA appropriations are devoted to much-needed Food Stamp, school lunch and breakfast, and other nutrition assistance programs.
Health and Nutrition
- Only 2 percent of 2- to 19-year-olds meet all five federal requirements for a
- In 2000, five “vegetables” — lettuce, frozen potatoes, fresh potatoes, potato chips,
and canned tomatoes — made up almost half of the total vegetable servings in the
- The food industry spends $15 billion a year marketing to children. The Federal School Lunch Program spends only $7 billion per year to feed our children in the public schools.
- The average American consumes more than 50 gallons of carbonated soft drinks
- Nearly 12 percent of Americans are “food insecure,” or experience “relatively low food security, ” USDA shorthand meaning that they are often not certain where their next meal will come from.2
- Due to a rise in obesity and type-2 diabetes, this generation may be the first
in American history to die at a younger age than their parents.
- 20 percent of current U.S. fossil fuel consumption is used to grow, process, and distribute food.3
- On average, 10 calories of petroleum are needed to yield just one calorie of industrial food (not including transportation).4
- Harvesting a single bushel of corn requires two-thirds of a gallon of gasoline.
- The average 1200-pound steer consumes 35 gallons of oil — nearly a barrel — over
its short lifetime from cow-calf operation to feedlot.5
- Nitrogen fertilizers, synthesized from natural gas, are the backbone of high-yield industrial agriculture, consuming nearly one-third of the energy used in U.S. agriculture.
- Seventy percent of the U.S. land base is privately owned.
- Nearly two-thirds of the 1.9 billion acres in the continental U.S. is comprised of crop, pasture, range, and forest land — about one-half of which is privately owned.
- Only one-tenth of the Lower 48 States fall under some form of state or federal habitat protection, and these areas have become increasingly fragmented and isolated.
- Public lands are being exploited for resource extraction, grazing, timbering, off-road recreation, and other harmful activities.
- Every year, 1.2 million acres of agricultural and forest lands are lost to development.6
- As of 1995, 84 percent of all endangered or threatened plants and animal species were listed in part due to agricultural activities.7
- Between 2006 and 2010, nearly 28 million acres under Conservation Reserve Program contracts will expire; their future is uncertain.
- Conservation programs are among the Green Box payments that are acceptable under World Trade Organization rules.
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