Land conservation and preservation concerns first showed up in the 1985 Farm Bill (pg. 57). Funds became available for farmers to NOT PLANT up to 37 million acres (approx. 10% of total U.S. farmed acreage) of any land that was “highly erodible.” Demand soared and each successive Farm Bill added more conservation programs, yet funding stays modest. Conservation allocations remain among the largest targets for the annual “hatchets” of Appropriations. (pg. 59)
- Courtesy of Food Fight (pg. 58)
Imhoff draws specific attention to how taxpayers’ foot the bill for Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs); massive hog farms, poultry factories and those huge cow lots that stink up CA Interstate 5. Home sweet home for most of the meat we eat. They can house hundreds of thousands of animals and produce sewage waste equivalent to a small city.
courtesy of Cool Cuisine, Taking the Bite Out of Global Warming
The 2002 and 2008 Farm Bill Conservation Titles showered hundreds of millions of dollars on CAFOs to clean up their act. Both Farm Bills mandated that 60% of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) budget be allocated to animal agriculture operators with the largest potential impact for remediation / cleanup. This gave preference to the worst offenders, over cleaner / smaller operations that also needed help, another knock to the family farm. CAFOs were eligible to receive 75% of expenses for animal waste hauling fees, storage facilities, and actions to comply with new government cleanup regulations. (up to $300,000 per owner) (reduced from the 2002 cap of $450,000) Meanwhile, projects with organic production benefits were capped at $20,000 annually or $80,000 in any 6-year period.” (pg. 60)
There’s still not a lot of public data about how much we the taxpayers shovel out to CAFOs. The Union of Concerned Scientists exposed in CAFOs Uncovered (2008) that the industry received at least $100 million per year from the Feds, just to clean up the environmental mess left over from their own businesses. Hmmm, I wonder how much SNAP recipients received that year?
Here are a few more environmental costs of our industrial agriculture system. Big Ag- propped up in 2023 by you, me, and the free-market (or not) Farm Bill.
- Courtesy of Food Fight (pg. 63)