The Republican Congress, both the House and the Senate have been crying “Wolf” over the Trillions of dollars in deficit, but when there is money to be distributed to their wealthy constituents, the response is radically different. If one looks back over the last 60 years or more, the only people who have benefited from farm bills have been wealthy farmers and large corporate farms. The number of people engaged in farming has fallen from more than 30% during the depression of the 1930’s to less than 3% at present. Even large family owned farms have become incorporated, because the cost of machinery to operate a farm has become extremely expensive, so that the one farm, one family owned farms have become almost extinct.
The latest version of the farm bill cut food stamps which provide people with low incomes with affordable sources of food. My question is why we provide wealthy farm corporations with the equivalent of corporate food stamps and deny our needy, underemployed, and unemployed citizens the food they need to live? Another issue which was not addressed by the Farm Bill was the potential problem of genetically modified foods. Currently, a snip of DNA can be attached to plant DNA which alters the basic structure of the plant. For example, a snip of DNA can be attached to a given plant which provides the equivalent of Roundup which we use to kill weeds in our yards and gardens and fields. Spraying Roundup around a plant does not alter the genetics of the plant, but attaching a snip of DNA to plant so that it kills weeds that grow around the plant, means that we may be eating Roundup when we eat a carrot, corn, lettuce, etc. For example, I was exposed to Agent Orange when working for an irrigation district for two years. We had Agent Orange on our hands, in our face, and when we ate our lunch because we were spraying willows and other plants which grew in the irrigations canals and inhibited the flow of water in the canals. I became very allergic to all kinds of foods and would break out with watery blisters on my hands and with severe sinus infections. This went on until my late thirties.
Agent Orange is 245t and 23d combined and is a growth hormone which causes the plants to grow themselves to death. I used Agent Orange when I was 18 and 19 which was long before it was used in Vietnam to clear the jungles. It took the Department of Defense years before Agent Orange victims were compensated for the problems it caused the soldiers who were exposed in Vietnam. About four years ago, I called the Oregon Department of Agriculture and told them about my exposure. The official who answered the telephone asked me if I wanted sue the State of Oregon. I told him not at this late date which was 5o or more years later. I do know it causes prostate cancer which I developed in my late 60’s. The children born to women in Vietnam were often born with birth defects due to the exposure of the parents to Agent Orange. If one looks up Agent Orange, you will also find Agent Blue, Agent Green, and so on depending upon the combinations of chemicals which have been combined.
At present, there are no double blind tests given to animals and people when a plant is genetically modified. Monsanto, for example can genetically alter a plant without any oversight. If a drug is developed it has to go through at least three different stages of double blind tests to determine the possible effects of the drug on humans. Genetically modified foods should be subjected to the same kind of tests before they they are sold to the public. The Farm Bill had no such restrictions and it will cost the taxpayers more than one trillion dollars with support by the party of no–The Republican Party.