Agricultural Policy | Food & Water Watch
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I long ago stopped believing that most corporations and politicians had the good of the public in mind. We need independent groups like Food & Water Watch to raise awareness and advocate for ethical, environmentally positive laws.
Elise Zuidema

Reports: Agricultural Policy

Reports Found: 15
January 29, 2014

Antibiotic Resistance 101: How Antibiotic Misuse on Factory Farms Can Make You Sick

Antibiotics are critical tools in human medicine. Medical authorities are warning that these life-saving drugs are losing their effectiveness, and there are few replacement drugs in the pipeline. Bacteria evolve in response to the use of antibiotics both in humans and in animals. Those bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics prosper as antibiotics kill the non-resistant bacteria. Once they emerge, antibiotic-resistant (AR) bacteria can transfer AR traits to other bacteria in animals and the environment. The development of antibiotic resistance is hastened by the use of low doses of antibiotics at industrial farms. The drugs are used routinely, not to treat sick animals, but for growth promotion and disease prevention, a practice known as subtherapeutic use.

May 14, 2013

U.S. Version – Biotech Ambassadors: How the U.S. State Department Promotes the Seed Industry’s Global Agenda

Food & Water Watch closely examined five years of State Department diplomatic cables from 2005 to 2009 to provide the first comprehensive analysis of the strategy, tactics and U.S. foreign policy objectives to foist pro-agricultural biotechnology policies worldwide.

November 2, 2012

The Economic Cost of Food Monopolies

The agriculture and food sector is unusually concentrated, with just a few companies dominating the market in each link of the food chain. In most sectors of the U.S. economy, the four largest firms control between 40 and 45 percent of the market, and many economists maintain that higher levels of concentration can start to erode competitiveness. Yet according to data compiled by the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2012, in the agriculture and food sector, the four largest companies controlled 82 percent of the beef packing industry, 85 percent of soybean processing, 63 percent of pork packing, and 53 percent of broiler chicken processing.

July 17, 2012

Cultivating Influence: The 2008 Farm Bill Lobbying Frenzy

The 2008 Farm Bill lobbying campaign ranked among the most well-financed legislative fights of the past decade. More than 1,000 companies, trade associations and other groups spent an estimated $173.5 million lobbying on just the 2008 Farm Bill, according to a Food & Water Watch analysis of data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics. During every day that the 100th Congress was in session in 2007 and 2008, special interests spent an average of $539,000 lobbying on issues covered by the Farm Bill.

April 26, 2012

Public Research, Private Gain

Since their creation in 1862, land-grant universities have revolutionized American agriculture. These public institutions delivered better seeds, new plant varieties and advanced tools to farmers who deployed scientific breakthroughs to increase agri­cultural productivity. They pioneered vitally impor­tant research on environmental stewardship, such as soil conservation. Land-grant universities partnered with farmers in research efforts, advancing rural livelihoods and improving the safety and abundance of food for consumers.

October 18, 2011

Do Farm Subsidies Cause Obesity?

It is commonly argued that farm subsidies have led to the overproduction of commodity crops, such as corn, driving down the price of “junk food” made with commodity ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and partially hydrogenated soybean oil relative to healthier alternatives. This cycle, it is suggested, has led to increasing rates of obesity. Removing subsidies, the argument goes, would help combat obesity by discouraging overproduction of crops that are the base ingredients of unhealthy food. This seems like a logical argument, yet few if any of those making these arguments reference academic findings and economic analysis to support their claims.

This white paper examines the public health and agricultural economics literature as well as primary and secondary agriculture policy documents. Based on this analysis, there is no evidence of a relationship between subsidies and the overproduction of commodity crops, or between subsidies and obesity. Instead, this paper finds that the deregulation of commodity markets – not subsidies – has had a significant impact on the price of commodities. Deregulation also has provided benefits and incentives to the food industry, including processors, marketers and retailers, and is one of a number of contributing factors impacting the availability of high-calorie processed foods in the marketplace.

April 26, 2011

Crystal Eth: America’s Crippling Addiction to Taxpayer-Financed Ethanol

In 2011, rising oil prices and global unrest over escalating food prices highlighted the public policy questions surrounding government promotion of corn-based ethanol as a transportation fuel. Corn-based ethanol is unlikely to significantly reduce America’s dependence on imported oil, has a negligible ability to reduce green- house gas emissions and contributes to environmental degradation in coastal waters.The public policies that promote or encourage ethanol production have significant impacts on America’s future energy use, efforts to curb global warming and the global effort to reduce hunger. These transportation biofuel incentives will be tied to corn-based ethanol for the near future, as only corn-based ethanol is currently commercially viable in the United States.

February 8, 2011

The Perils of the Global Soy Trade: Economic, Environmental and Social Impacts

Globalization has fundamentally changed agriculture across Europe. The idyllic image of small farms with sustainable agri- culture has been replaced with agricultural cogs producing food-ingredient inputs for international industrial agribusinesses. The pork chops and chickens on European tables begin their lives far away on soybean plantations in Latin America, where the feed for European livestock is harvested.

December 22, 2009

Casino of Hunger: How Wall Street Speculators Fueled the Global Food Crisis

During 2008, rising food prices, accelerated by an unprecedented run-up of prices on the commodities futures markets, created a food crisis that increased global hunger, sparked civil unrest and hurt farmers in America and worldwide. The global food crisis is an overlooked symptom of the broader global economic crisis. The food crisis shares many characteristics of the financial meltdown – it was exacerbated by the deregulation of the commodity markets (including agriculture) that encouraged a tidal wave of Wall Street speculation – leading to further increases in already rising food and energy prices.

June 24, 2009

Where’s the Local Beef?

Local beef. Sustainable sausage. They’re what a growing number of people want for dinner. Across the country, demand is increasing for meat from cattle, sheep and other animals raised on the pastures of local and regional farms and ranches.

But satisfying this burgeoning demand is no easy task. Decades of agribusiness and economic trends tilted toward centralizing animal agriculture in industrial factory settings have hollowed out the infrastructure needed to produce and market meat close to population centers. The long, slow demise of local small slaughter and processing operations is now preventing farmers and ranchers from fully satisfying rising consumer demand for meat from sustainably raised livestock.

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