Saturday, May 10, 2008

For less than a cup of free trade coffee

Lets put the cost of food security and safety into proper perspective. A cup of free trade coffee generally costs more than regular coffee. Whatever that price is, it exceeds the cost of supporting the entire farm program, on a per capita per day basis.

Assuming this cup of free trade coffee costs $4.50, one might think it is a bargain, depending on where this was purchased. Now, switch gears and think about the entire American agricultural industry and the Farm Bill that has been hotly debated in both houses and now is threatened by a Presidential veto.

About 0.25% of every $100 paid by the taxpayer, or 25 cents, goes to support the farm program, including subsidies, conservation programs, research, etc. That's about 9 cents per person per day.

Without a doubt, farm programs are a bargain, especially when considering what this 9 cents does for the American consumer. It ensures that the infrastructure of a diversified family farm based agriculture will survive. It provides a modest safety net when weather wreaks havoc on the crops and livestock. It pays producers when prices move to disastrously low levels. When droughts come as they are prone to do in semi-arid climates, they help farmers through these times with direct payments so they can pay their bills and survive until the next harvest comes. It assures the American consumer that there will always be enough food to serve on the plate.

9 cents per person per day.....who would even pick up 9 pennies from the sidewalk and think they found real wealth? Even when compared to a cup of regular coffee, it's not even a contest.

No comments: