New Report Shows ‘Wasteful Handouts’ in Farm Bill
KREX News Room
PALISADE, Colo.- The U.S. House recently passed its version of the Farm Bill, that is expected to provide funding to agriculture industries across the country.
But some local farmers and the Colorado Public Interest Research Group, a non-profit organization that works on a variety of consumer and public interest issues, are disappointed.
These officials aren't against the bill per se, since they feel it does maintain things like infrastructure and supports education. However, it’s the portion of balance they are concerned about.
CoPIRG and some farmers believe there’s too many "wasteful handouts" to big agricultural businesses, with even junk food ingredients still in the bill.
“I’m not looking for a handout,” said Scott Washkowiak, local organic farmer. “But it’s all about balance. Biological balance, economical balance, you want balance.”
Washkowiak provides produce to 150 families in the area, with no governmental subsidies.
But a new report, Apples to Twinkies 2013, released on Tuesday by CoPIRG demonstrates the federal agricultural policy has wasted $19.2 billion subsidizing junk food ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup.
Officials say the recently passed Farm Bill continues to funnel money to conglomerates that develop these products.
“Giving our tax dollars to huge agriculture business that are already profitable and very mature, and very large, that don’t actually need the help of our tax dollars, that’s just the first wrong step,” said Lisa Ritland, field director of CoPIRG. “Right now, Colorado is the thinnest state in the country. Our values are definitely not in junk foods. Though, I am sure we still enjoy it, we probably don't enjoy our tax dollars going towards it.”
“Let’s support all of the agribusinesses. Let’s support all the growers, not just the specific ingredients,” said Washkowiak.
One solution these officials are proposing is putting caps on how much subsidies go to larger farms.
They are trying to obtain wide-spread support across the state.