Thursday, June 2, 2011

Big Bag of Food Policies: Farm Bill, Seeds, and Antibiotics

Elliott calls on budget cutters to not only cut the direct farm payments from the next Farm Bill – intended as a bridge away from trade-distorting policies that never got off the ground – but also from the trade-distorting subsidies that still exist. And shocking as it is for me to agree with my former Sentaor Feinstein, do so I must:
Oh, and Congress could save another $3 billion this year and $6 billion in future years by voting to eliminate the subsidy for ethanol as proposed by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Tom Coburn (R-OK). Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) rightly calls it “bad economic policy, bad energy policy and bad environmental policy.”
FAO and the African Union have teamed up to create a Forum for Africa Seed Testing to speed up seed policy harmonization and promote seed markets. Guei, an FAO senior officer, indicates that “Inadequate supply of quality seeds for both food and cash crops is one of the biggest bottlenecks to food production on the continent..."

Loglisci (HT: Wilde) reminds us that Denmark has been using antibiotics in livestock only when needed by illness – rather than keeping all animals constantly under a mild dose of antibiotics as we do in the States – for a number of years. As a result, they use a lot fewer antibiotics and they have had less trouble than we have from the growth of antibiotic-resistant superbugs. This hasn’t prevented increasing use of antibiotics as hog population has grown (see chart), but it is far lower today than it was at peak and lower still than it would have been without the law.

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