Friday, June 20, 2008

U.S. May Free Up More Land for Corn Crops

New York Times
By David Streitfeld
Published: June 21, 2008

CHICAGO — Signs are growing that the government may allow farmers to plant crops on millions of acres of conservation land, while a chorus of voices is also pleading with Washington to cut requirements for ethanol production.

Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa and one of Capitol Hill’s main voices on farm policy, on Friday urged the Agriculture Department to release tens of thousands of farmers from contracts under which they had promised to set aside huge tracts as natural habitat...more

Wallace's opinion;

This is extraordinary news, but I'm not really surprised. I've been following the crisis in the global food supply since I read Peter Casier's article 'The Global Food Crisis: A Perfect Storm'. Peter works for the UN, out of Rome and was one of the first bloggers to bring the issue to the world, preceding the World Food Summit recently convened in Rome. I made a list of related articles from around the blogo-sphere as they were published, and as the story developed I began to notice an obvious politicalization of the issue. I refer to that development as Political Hay ( As in; make hay, while the sun shines. By the way, these links are informative but I put them here primarily for corroboration ).

I knew hysteria had reached it's peak, when I read 'Obese blamed for the worlds ills' on the BBC Health page. Everybody and there brother was capitalizing on the tragic situation. From Africa to Iran, from Brazil to Burma, everybody except President Bush that is.

But now I see what a Lame Duck can do with a little patience. He can hand every corporate farm in the nation a fat bonus at the expense of land management, wet-land habitats, game reserves and the governments largest conservation program. These corporations have already been paid to leave the land fallow, and now those contracts may be waved. Do people understand that much of the corporate land that's been flooded is insured? That's two payoffs.

Now these corporations have a chance to plant a crop for a third payout from a highly ( and artificially ) inflated market.

Does anyone remember James Watt? He was Reagan's Secretary of the Interior that was forced to resign, after he did so much for so few. He made hay for Reagan's cronies, and it looks like Senator Charles E. Grassley, is trying to do the same for our current Republican President.

As for removing the requirement to plant a percentage dedicated to ethanol, what a crock. Do we really think that these corporate farms are going to pass up fourth payout at today's fuel prices?

p.s. I focused on corporate farms, because family farms receive only a fraction of the benefits, and have the least political clout. But just watch the news in the next few weeks, it will be mom and pop interviews that give a friendly face to the political hay making. What a crock

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