This post is not an editorial. This was a news story. I said what I thought, and they chose what to write and quote. And I was representing MOFFA, not Beginning Farmers.
Read the full article and listen to the interview at http://www.publicnewsservice.org/index.php?%2Fcontent%2Farticle%2F20623-1
LANSING, Mich. – Two U-S Senators yesterday (Thurs) introduced the Rural America Preservation Act of 2011. Sponsored by Chuck Grassley and Tim Johnson, the bill could help small and mid-sized farmers. It changes the cap on farm commodity program payments in an effort to limit subsidies to larger, corporate farms. Comments from Taylor Reid, member of Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance.
Legislation introduced in Washington yesterday could level the playing field for farmers in Michigan and elsewhere. The Rural America Preservation Act caps certain commodity payments to prevent large-scale and corporate farms from garnering large shares of federal subsidies. Taylor Reid is a member of the Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance. He says large scale farming operations have had the resources, capacity and political connections to maximize subsidy payments, leaving the smaller farmers at a disadvantage. He says between 1995 and 2009 … ten percent of Michigan’s farms collected over 70 percent of the commodity program payments.
“When we’re talking about large farms, we’re talking about farms that are grossing over half a million dollars a year. When we subsidize on the basis of the amount of produce produced, we disproportionately subsidize those farms that are already making a lot of money.”
Reid says the subsidies no longer serve farmers the way the commodity programs were originally intended. He says the program monies should be based on economic need. The Rural American Preservation Act would limit the payment amount per farm, preventing large scale farms from using subsidies to expand their operation.
Reid says tax dollars are being spent on subsidies for farms that are already making large profits, while at the same time, the federal government is making deep cuts to farm programs. Reid says Michigan doesn’t reap the benefits of what is sown by corporate farms because they export the majority of what they produce.
“Very little of that money comes back into the local economy. When you have a family farmer, they’re buying food at the local grocery, they’re contributing on Sunday at their local church, they’re buying coffee at the local coffee shop…”
Legislation introduced in Washington yesterday could level the playing field for farmers in Michigan and elsewhere. Laura Thornquist has details.
Laura Thornquist reporting. To read the full interview, and listen to the recorded interview, go to
Contact Taylor Reid at Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance 517-449-2525