Economy on Food

Topics: Livestock, Maize, Nutrition Pages: 10 (4330 words) Published: December 18, 2012
Many Americans consume food at an alarming rate without even stopping to think of what they really might be eating or how it ended up on their plate. If we just took the time to see how our food systems worked, we would notice the domino affect trickling down from government to average day Americans. In order for us to be able to grow and produce food, farmers are paid by our government in the form of subsidies. These crops often times do not grow naturally from the ground. Chemicals are pumped into the Earth causing problems for our environment. That food is than sent on journeys all over the world, including stops at feed lots. Animals are fed the crop which has more cons than pros to their digestive system and their bodies causing meat to have a higher concentration of fat. Of course these products are then distributed to our grocery stores and we buy them without the slightest bit of hesitation. Each one of these steps has an affect on the other and it might all be controlled by one problem - government subsidies. Without this control farmers might have the initiative to grow with their minds set on quality over quantity which in turn will have healthier affects on each level of our food economy. Farmers are large contributors toward the food for our society. The government pays farmers by controlling the supply and demand through subsidies keeping the farmers their jobs. However, the subsidies are based on how many bushels a farmer can grow, which leads to an overproduction. An example of a highly subsidized crop is corn. Alone, this crop causes environmental, animal farming, and society health issues. According to Michael Pollan, an author, activist, and Professor of journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, for farmers to grow an abundant amount of corn it requires more chemicals and pesticides to maintain growing conditions. These chemicals eventually find its way into the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico, killing marine life (45). When this crop is sold, farmers with livestock buy it as animal feed, for it is cheap. "Most of the animals we eat (chickens, pigs, and cows) today subsist on a diet of corn, reguardless  regardless of whether it is good for them" (Pollan, 44). Cattle are not use to an all corn diet which causes farmers to feed them antibiotics to fight off any illness and or infections. Once these animals pass inspections they are sent off to a slaughter house to become the meat we eat, which is filled with antibiotics and corn.     Corn comes in a sugar additive form be more accurate -Meline Akashian 11/27/10 3:25 PM called high fructose corn syrup. It is commonly found in soft drinks because it is so sweet and cheap. Due to the subsidy, it took the place of sugar. There is " coincidence that the wholesale switch to corn sweeteners in 1980's marks the beginning of the epidemic of obesity and Type 2 Diabetes in this country" (Pollan, 44). Since the subsidy caused overproduction and extremely low prices, America has let itself go in becoming one of the fattest and laziest nations by turning to fast food restaurants instead of home cooked meals. The government pays farmers to grow these commodities (i.e. corn, soy, wheat, rice, and cotton) for their overproduction and "...the farm bill what farm bill? offer context for quote -Meline Akashian 11/27/10 3:26 PM  does almost nothing to support farmers growing fresh produce...The reason the least healthful calories in the supermarket are the cheapest is that those are the ones the farm bill encourages farmers to grow" (Pollan, You Are What You Grow). While fruit and vegetable prices increased 40 percent from 1985-2000, the price of soft drinks, containing corn, declined 23 percent (Pollan, You Are What You Grow). Through government subsidies and the farm bill, it has caused several problems concerning the environment, and animal and society health. Government subsidies need to be looked at and changed considerably. Farmers need to stop...
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