AGRICULTURAL SUBSIDIES IN AMERICA
BY MICHAEL GLEASON
The federal government should amend the current farm bill because revising the current farm subsidies bill to provide more benefits for producer of fruits and vegetables will lessen the strain of obesity on the healthcare system by making healthy food options available to more Americans
Overview of Current Farm Bill and Crops in America
- The current bill was passed in 2014 and it eliminates direct payments to farmers and replaces it with an enhanced insurance program.
- 86% of a farmer's income is guaranteed.
- Is expected to save the United States government $23 billion over the next ten years.
- Reduces Food Stamp aide by $90 for 850,000 who rely on the Food Stamp program.
- 160 million acres of corn and soybeans were planted in 2014.
Corn is a major cash crop in America.
This is a field of soybeans, another major cash crop in America.
Wheat is another government supported crop in America.
Obesity in America
- Since 1970, the percentage of obese people in America has doubled to 30%.
- Two thirds of all Americans are overweight.
- One third of Americans under age 19 are overweight.
- Possible causes of obesity include lifestyle choices, genetics, and the increased consumption of high-calorie processed foods.
Economic Effects of Obesity in America
- Obese people pay 50% more over their lifespans to treat obesity related diseases such as heart disease, diabetes hypertension, stroke, and asthma, overweight people pay 20% more.
- Absenteeism from obese workers costs America between $10 and 20 billion dollars per year.
- $14.3 billion is spent each year to treat childhood obesity-related health issues.
- Obese children are more likely to have greater healthcare costs throughout their lives than normal weight children.
Making Healthy Foods Affordable
- Increasing subsidization of fruit and vegetable crops in America would make these products more profitable, and therefore farmers would produce more fruit and vegetables.
- A 1% decrease in the amount of corn and soybeans planted could translate to an 11% increase in production of fruit and vegetables in America.
- A greater supply of fruits and vegetables would make these foods cheap and more affordable for low-income families.
Opposing Views on Subsidization
- Subsidization of American produce may hurt farmers in poorer countries.
- Some people say any extra subsidy money should be spent on biofuels and development of biofuels.
- Some countries, such as India, have limited trade with America because of America's farm subsidy programs.
- It is estimated that the yearly cost of obesity exceeds $150 billion per year in America.
- People with lower incomes tend to be more at risk for obesity.
- Making fresh produce more affordable would give low-income families a chance to have a healthy diet.
Obesity: An American Crisis