At the federal level, farm programs that benefit family farmers and land stewardship like the Conservation Stewardship Program and the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program are being put on the chopping block by corporate-backed politicians. Virulent corporate opposition to rules aimed at restoring fairness to livestock markets has prevented the strengthened Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) rule from being released. But commodity subsidies that feed the corporate agriculture system are left untouched. Corporate America making profits is not the problem. The problem is when corporate interests make profits at the public expense. These are lean times for many Americans, and yet corporate America — Wall Street and investment bankers especially — are making record profits. After receiving a trillion-dollar bailout, the biggest banks are still foreclosing on homes at record rates. Too often we have seen their profits stay private—and often tax free—while their losses have been picked up by the public.
This is happening at a time when we don’t have enough revenue to maintain our roads, schools and water systems, much less provide beginning farmers the assistance they need. And as health care costs skyrocket for all of us, insurance companies make record profits and their CEOs are paid millions in salaries and bonuses.
The Land Stewardship Project is working to promote the passage of GIPSA and other policies that control corporate concentration in agriculture.