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The Farm Bill is meant to supplement and secure farm incomes, ensure a stable food supply, and support the American farm economy. Over time, however, it has evolved into a system that creates substantial health impacts, both directly and indirectly. By generating more profit for food producers and less for family farmers; by effectively subsidizing the production of lower-cost fats, sugars, and oils that intensify the health-destroying obesity epidemic; by amplifying environmentally destructive agricultural practices that impact air, water, and other resources, the Farm Bill influences the health of Americans more than is immediately apparent. In this article, we outline three major public health issues influenced by American farm policy. These are (1) rising obesity; (2) food safety; and (3) environmental health impacts, especially exposure to toxic substances and pesticides.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition, 4:393–408, 2009
Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN: 1932-0248 print/1932-0256 online
DOI: 10.1080/19320240903321367
WHEN1932-02481932-0256Journal of Hunger & Envir onmental Nutritio n, Vol. 4, No. 3-4, Octo ber 2009: pp. 0–0Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition Agriculture Policy Is Health Policy
Agriculture Policy Is Health PolicyR. J. Jackson et al. RICHARD J. JACKSON, RAY MINJARES, KYRA S. NAUMOFF,
University of California, Los Angeles, School of Public Health, Los Angeles, California, USA
The Farm Bill is meant to supplement and secure farm incomes,
ensure a stable food supply, and support the American farm
economy. Over time, however, it has evolved into a system that
creates substantial health impacts, both directly and indirectly. By
generating more profit for food producers and less for family farmers;
by effectively subsidizing the production of lower-cost fats, sugars,
and oils that intensify the health-destroying obesity epidemic; by
amplifying environmentally destructive agricultural practices that
impact air, water, and other resources, the Farm Bill influences
the health of Americans more than is immediately apparent. In
this article, we outline three major public health issues influenced
by American farm policy. These are (1) rising obesity; (2) food
safety; and (3) environmental health impacts, especially exposure
to toxic substances and pesticides.
KEYWORDS Farm Bill, obesity, environment, health
America is in the grip of a fearsome epidemic. It is an epidemic largely out
of the hands of doctors, nurses and scientists—it is the crush of chronic disease,
highlighted by the epidemic of overweight and obesity. Rising costs of
healthy food and an overall decline in Americans’ fitness make this epidemic
even more troubling. Efforts by health leaders to improve eating habits and
encourage exercise have barely moved the scales. Overwhelmed by the
challenge, increasing numbers of Americans find bariatric and “lap band
Developed with the support of the Kellogg Foundation.
Address correspondence to Richard J. Jackson, University of California, Los Angeles, School
of Public Health, 650 Charles E Young Dr., Box 56-070 CHS, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1772.
394 R. J. Jackson et al.
surgery more viable options than improving their diets. Arrayed against
their efforts is a far larger force that makes unhealthy foods too tasty, cheap,
and abundant to resist.
This megaforce is US farm policy. How does legislation that determines
what happens on distant farms affect our bodies and our families? We argue
that US farm policy has created a food system that damages our health, our
environment, and our national security.
Much of US farm policy is driven by a complex piece of federal legisla-
tion passed by Congress every 5 to 7 years called the Farm Bill. Its most
recent iterations were the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002
and the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. The Farm Bill is
scheduled to be renewed in 2012 and presents a remarkable opportunity to
shape our food system and our health for generations to come. What we
grow, what we eat, who will profit, the long-term availability of food, and
environmental repercussions will all be affected by the provisions of the
Farm Bill.
The Farm Bill was envisioned to supplement farm incomes, ensure a
stable food supply, and support the American farm economy. Instead, it
subsidizes the production of cheap fats, sugars, and oils that fuel obesity;
creates profit for food processors and corporate farmers; and supports agri-
cultural practices that damage the environment, with long-term conse-
quences for our health. The upcoming Farm Bill reauthorization requires
that those concerned about health and well-being become involved in this
issue and demand not only good economic policy but also sound health
In this article, we outline 3 major public health issues influenced by
American farm policy. These are (1) rising obesity; (2) food safety; and
(3) environmental health impacts, especially exposure to toxics and pesticides.
Two thirds of American adults are overweight and one third are obese.1
Though the prevalence of obesity remained stable through the 1960s and
1970s, America experienced an increase of more than 50% per decade in
the 1980s and 1990s. These trends have significant long-term implications
for our health and quality of life. The three leading causes of death in the
United States (heart disease, cancer, and stroke) are all associated with poor
diet and overweight.
Diabetes—America’s 6th leading cause of death—is also dramatically
rising. The term adult-onset diabetes has become Type II diabetes as more
young people develop the disease.2 If obesity trends continue, the lifetime
risk of developing diabetes will be 1 in 3 for children born in 2000.3 There is
increasing likelihood that for the first time in American history this generation
Agriculture Policy Is Health Policy 395
of children will live shorter lives than their parents.4 The young and poor
are most affected by rising obesity, but these trends hold for both sexes, all
major racial and ethnic categories, geographic regions, and socioeconomic
As Americans loosen their belts, they must also open their pocketbooks,
because poor diets create additional costs to society. Not only is poor diet
linked to the major causes of death and increased medical spending, but it
also carries other costs: overweight persons retire earlier, go into nursing
homes at younger ages, have higher absenteeism rates, and are more likely
to be disabled.5 The costs of obesity are borne not just by obese individuals
but also by the public who supports their care: half of obesity-related medi-
cal costs are borne by public systems funded by taxpayers—Medicare and
Public health professionals have achieved limited success in reversing
obesity trends. Their main efforts focus on educating the public about the
importance of individual behaviors and by supporting legislation to alter
food and physical activity environments, especially in schools. But an
unavoidable obstacle to success is the American food supply, which continues
to provide an overabundance of cheap fats, oils, and sugars.7
Typical supermarkets and convenience stores contain an abundance of
cheap, unhealthy food items. If tomorrow every American woke up and
refused to consume anything but the foods recommended by the US
Department of Agriculture (USDA) Dietary Guidelines for Americans, there
would be a catastrophic food shortage. Although the USDA guidelines rec-
ommend the consumption of fruits and vegetables as part of a balanced
diet, the food system falls drastically short of providing enough fresh fruits
and vegetables to meet their recommendations.7
The public health community has been slow to examine the link
between food policy and public health. Until now, most attempts to reverse
the American obesity epidemic have focused on changing consumer behaviors,
but the results are depressingly inadequate. Little attention has been focused
on examining the “upstream determinants”; namely, the food supply. Just as
Americans have failed to ask why there is not enough healthy and affordable
food, the public health community has failed to adequately consider what
policies are driving the obesity epidemic. By following the pathway of public
funds to what and how Americans choose to eat, one finds that American
farm and food policies are major vectors of diet-related disease.
Fruits and vegetables are good for us. They lower the incidence and mortality
of the most common chronic diseases in America.8 Yet less than 4% of total
396 R. J. Jackson et al.
US cropland in 2004 was planted with fruits and vegetables.9 What is happen-
ing on the rest of our farmland? These acres are dominated by the 8 main
“commodity” crops (corn, wheat, cotton, soybeans, rice, barley, oats, and
sorghum). Why is this the case?
Farmers’ crop choices are influenced by a portion of the Farm Bill that
rewards certain crops over others. Government agricultural policies extend
from the 1930s when federal policy-makers passed laws to create price
stability and ensure the long-term economic viability of farming, particularly
for family farmers. But in the 1970s, farm policy shifted away from maintain-
ing stable prices to maintaining low prices and maximizing production of
certain commodity crops that could be bought and sold on the international
market. Direct payments were established to encourage competition and
increase production, thereby lowering the price of these commodities.
Farmers rely on government payments for economic stability, so they
plant the crops that farm policy encourages them to grow. Seventy to 80%
of all farm subsidies are directed toward the 8 commodity crops, which
together cover 74% of US cropland. Farmers growing “specialty crops” such
as fruits and vegetables are not eligible for direct subsidies and are
penalized if they have received federal farm payments for other crops. In
addition, large farms, which make up only 7% of the total, receive 45% of all
federal payments. Meanwhile, small farms, which are 76% of the total,
receive just 14% of the payments.10 The end result is a government-structured
food supply that heavily favors just a few crops, grown by large-scale
farming operations that fail to satisfy the healthy dietary needs of Americans
(Figure 1).11
FIGURE 1 The American food supply contains too many fats and sugars and not enough
fruits and vegetables.11
Food Supply Servings compared to 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans
01 234 5 678 9
Vegetables - starchy (cups)
Fruit (cups)
Vegetables - excluding starchy
Milk (cups)
Whole Grains (oz equivalent)
Total Grains (oz equivalent)
Servings Recommended by 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans
Loss-Adjusted Servings Available in Food Supply
Agriculture Policy Is Health Policy 397
Certain subsidies provide a critical safety net to family farmers, but
food processors are among those who gain the most from government
payments. Processors have profited from the conversion of these subsidized
commodities into processed foods sold at ever higher prices despite lower
nutritional content. Between 1980 and 2000, consumer food expenditures in
the United States increased two and a half times to $661 million, while the
farm value of these foods increased only one and a half times. During this
period, the proportion of each food dollar that went to farmers dropped
from 31% to 19%, meaning that 81 cents of each dollar spent on food in
2000 went to non-farm-related activities, including labor, packaging, trans-
portation, and marketing (Figure 2).12 Our food system provides greater
rewards to those who process, market, and distribute food than to those
who actually grow it.
Food processors, with proportionally more of their funds available for
marketing, have been successful at creating new foods with desirable char-
acteristics: low cost, convenience, high energy density, and appealing taste
(via added fats, sugars, salt, and artificial flavoring).13 With the additional
support of government-sponsored product and processing research at land
grant universities, these innovations use cheap agricultural inputs to make
tastier and longer lasting foods with higher profit margins. Processed grocery
foods dominate supermarket sales (Figure 3), and simultaneously the
consumption of added fats and sugars has increased (Figure 4).
Americans are eating more food, most of which is unhealthy. Between
1970 and 2000 the average consumption per person of added fats increased
FIGURE 2 From 1980 to 2000, food marketing costs increased 57% and farm value
increased 16%.12
398 R. J. Jackson et al.
38% and average consumption of added sugars increased 20% (Figure 5).
Researchers estimate that if we acted rationally and in our best interest, the
average person over age 4 would consume about 2350 calories each day.15
Yet our food supply makes available 3800 calories per person each day.
The price of fresh fruits and vegetables increased 118% from 1985 to 2000,
and the price of fats and oils increased only 35%. Consumers are price
sensitive, such that even small changes in the price of healthy foods affect
their consumption.7
FIGURE 3 Processed grocery food sales compose the majority of supermarket sales, 2000.14
FIGURE 4 Consumption of fats, oils, and sugars has increased from 1970 to 2000.14
Agriculture Policy Is Health Policy 399
Not surprisingly, when ingredients are cheap, producers also compete by
increasing portion sizes (Figure 6).20 The cost of the food itself is small relative
to the price of preparing, packaging, shipping, and advertising, so the cost of
increasing portion size is small relative to the perceived value of larger sizes.
Cheap food inputs make it possible for food retailers to double the calories in
an item while selling it for only cents more. This profitable strategy offers con-
sumers short-term bargains but staggering long-term costs.16 While $21 billion
dollars were spent under the Farm Bill to support commodity crop production
in 2005,17 Americans are spending $147 billion a year on obesity-related ill-
nesses, not to mention the costs of time, productivity, and quality of life lost.18
Agricultural policy subsidies come at a cost to public health. The system
provides all consumers with excess fats and sugars, but especially vulnerable
are children and the poor. Lifetime dietary patterns—healthful or not—are
generally set early in life. Unhealthful patterns are important; obese children
are likely to remain obese into adulthood.20,21 Poor families who live in
FIGURE 5 The real cost of fruits and vegetables has increased and the real cost of fats, oils,
and soda has decreased.7
FIGURE 6 Overall calorie intake has increased with portion size.20
400 R. J. Jackson et al.
low-income communities often find themselves living in food deserts,
where healthy food options are unavailable but fast food abounds. Many
older citizens who live on fixed incomes must choose between medicine
and vegetables. Freedom of choice for consumers is desirable, yet we have
a food system that increasingly limits healthy choices for large segments of
the population, making unhealthy eating the default option.
Foodborne pathogens cause approximately 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospi-
talizations, and 5000 deaths in the United States each year.22 This too is related
to the Farm Bill. Current US farm policies encourage a system that is both
highly centralized and relies on large amounts of imported foods. American
food travels through several stages and many miles as it journeys from farm to
table—each link presents an opportunity for food contamination. Poorly moni-
tored food imports, the threat of agro-terrorism, and our system of highly cen-
tralized food production put the safety of our food system at risk.23,24
Though foodborne pathogens most often affect raw foods of animal
origin, the 2006 Escherischia coli spinach outbreak demonstrates the vulner-
ability of our entire food system to contamination. Despite comprehensive
food safety regulations and consistent food sanitation surveillance nation-
wide, a batch of contaminated fresh spinach from a single farm in Monterey
County, California, infected 205 persons across at least 26 states in a
2-month period.25 This outbreak resulted in 102 hospitalizations and 3
deaths. How does contaminated spinach from one farm infect people all
over the country?
Spinach from California travels the country as a result of the large-scale
centralized production and distribution of our food. When American farm
policy changed in the 1970s to encourage low prices and competition
between farmers, many went out of business. The farmers who survived
were the ones who successfully increased their overall size and their investment
in technology. Since 1900, the number of farms has fallen 63% and the size
of farms has increased 67% (Figure 7).26
To reduce costs, large-scale farmers typically use highly centralized and
mechanized production practices, including confined animal feedlot opera-
tions (CAFOs) and monocultures. Though these methods are efficient, they
create conditions that put plants and animals at risk of disease and micro-
bial contamination and harm the environment. Monoculture techniques
increase the risk of crop disease and deplete nutrients in soil, requiring the
use of artificial fertilizers which evaporate, descend as acid rain, contami-
nate the water supply, and contribute to global warming.27 To promote
rapid growth, cattle are frequently fattened with large quantities of grains that
change the acidity of their digestive systems making them more vulnerable
Agriculture Policy Is Health Policy 401
to pathogenic strains of E. coli.28 Increased shedding of such pathogens in
animal waste occurs with the decline in the state of an animal’s health and
an increase in its stress levels,29 both of which are exacerbated in CAFOs.31
Inadequate manure treatment, contamination of nearby fields and water,
and contamination of slaughtered livestock are a frequently suspected
sources of contaminated foods.29,31 To maintain the animals’ health, many
producers dose the animals with antibiotics,32 a practice that poses its own
set of problems (see next section).
Centralization also creates large distribution channels through which
contaminated foods may easily spread without aggressive vigilance. Though
centralization may make detection of contaminated foods easier, potentially
more individuals are at risk if contamination goes undetected. The conse-
quences of a breach in food safety are much greater in this type of system.
This is illustrated by the recent salmonella-tainted peanut butter scare,
which sickened hundreds of people, caused several deaths, and put the
Peanut Corporation of America out of business. Smaller, more isolated food
systems are inherently less vulnerable to large-scale contamination.33 A
highly centralized structure also increases the risks of harm from deliberate
attacks. Biological agents introduced undetected into the system could
result in a major disruption of our food supply. Additionally, high-speed,
automated methods of slaughtering and food processing may make contam-
ination both more likely and more difficult to detect.34,35
New threats to food safety have also arisen from global food trade. In
2007, Food and Drug Administration officials advised consumers to discard
toothpaste manufactured in China after discovering it contained ethylene
FIGURE 7 The number of farms has declined and the average size of farms has increased.26
402 R. J. Jackson et al.
glycol, a chemical agent used in antifreeze.36 In China, the toxic ingredient
melamine found its way into milk, infant formula, and pet food, sickening
294,000 children and causing at least 6 deaths.37 Ingredients are entering the
United States from more than 100 countries with the dollar value doubling
over the past decade to $80 billion in 2006. Once these ingredients are incor-
porated into processed foods, it is difficult and often impossible to trace them
back to their source.38 As American food policies encourage the production
of few crops and rely heavily on global imports for the rest, more cases of
contamination are likely without aggressive policing and controls.
Farm policies encouraging mass production have resulted in highly centralized
farm practices that are more likely to result in environmental degradation.
For example, fossil fuels are used to manufacture and transport fertilizer and
pesticides over long distances; the raw and then finished products are then
further transported, often back to their original locations; source water is
also transported for agriculture use; and used water is commonly contami-
nated by chemical fertilizers and pesticides with resulting downstream
“dead zones.” Ground and surface waters can also be polluted by antibiotics
from CAFOs and by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and soil is depleted
through overuse and lack of crop rotation.
CAFOs generate enormous amounts of waste and air pollution, and
they are perhaps the most egregious example of environmental degradation
exacerbated by US farm policies. The savings to large livestock producers
feeding their animals cheap subsidized grains have driven down the price of
meats, resulting in consolidation of livestock operations. Diversified farmers,
using their own farm products and labor to raise livestock, are unable to
compete with concentrated livestock industries that benefit from cheap
inputs and economies of scale without regard to resulting environmental
CAFOs lack sewage treatment plants, yet, because a pig produces
about 4 times as much solid waste as a human, a typical CAFO of 5000
swine produces waste equivalent to a city of 20,000 people.39 This waste is
expensive to transport, store, and dispose. Storage pits for livestock or poultry
manure can leak into groundwater and streams; such pits become even
more problematic if sited in a flood plain or below the water table. CAFOs
generally produce more waste than can be used on nearby fields as fertilizer.39
Levels of phosphorus and nitrogen in the waste often exceed what the
crops can utilize or the soil can retain. Correspondingly, excess nutrients
contaminate surface waters and streams, causing algal overgrowth in nearby
water bodies that devastate underwater ecological systems. Many feed
ingredients used in CAFOs pass directly through the animal into manure,
Agriculture Policy Is Health Policy 403
including carcinogenic heavy metals (such as arsenic), antibiotics, nitrogen,
and phosphorus. The manure also contains dust, mold, pathogenic bacteria,
and bacterial endotoxins that contaminate air and water. Generally accepted
livestock waste management practices do not adequately or effectively pro-
tect water resources from contamination with excessive nutrients, microbial
pathogens, and pharmaceuticals present in the waste.40
Additionally, toxic gases, vapors, and particles are emitted from CAFOs
into the environment, including ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide,
malodorous vapors, and particles contaminated with a wide range of
microorganisms.41 The negative impact of CAFOs on nearby communities is
a frequently voiced concern and is being increasingly documented.
Finally, CAFOs contribute to the health threat of antibiotic resistance.
Because large numbers of animals are kept in crowded conditions,
microbes spread easily. Though physicians receive negative attention for
contributing to antibiotic resistance by overprescribing antibiotics, antibiotics
used to produce livestock account for the largest portion of antibiotic usage
in the United States—between 60% and 80% of total nontherapeutic anti-
microbials produced in the United States are used in US livestock opera-
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently called for phasing out
the use of antimicrobial growth stimulants for livestock and fish production.43
WHO recommended that therapeutic antimicrobial agents be available only
by prescription for human and veterinary use. Additionally, concern about
the risk of an influenza pandemic led WHO to recommend that regulations
be promulgated to restrict the colocation of swine and poultry CAFOs on
the same site and to set substantial separation distances.
Aware that CAFOs present significant environmental and health risks,
legislators have addressed them in recent Farm Bills. But rather than discour-
aging their practices, the Farm Bill directed hundreds of millions of dollars
to CAFOs through the conservation title and rejected amendments, such as
the Farm Ranch Equity Stewardship and Health (FRESH) Act, that would
increase support for farmer’s using environmentally friendly practices.
Under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, CAFOs are eligible for
up to $450,000 (75% of operating costs) to build storage facilities for animal
sewage.44 Though 3 out of 4 farmers interested in Farm Bill conservation
programs are rejected for lack of funds, it is antithetical to the protection of
the environment and health to provide funds that enable the current oper-
ation of CAFOs rather than providing incentives for them to shift toward
sustainable practices.45
The price of food to consumers does not contain the true costs of its
production. The true costs include the cost of environmental cleanup, the
costs to human health of toxic exposure and a lack of clean water sources,
the costs of overusing fossil fuels, as well as the cost to future generations
of growing food with the loss of severely depleted agricultural land.
404 R. J. Jackson et al.
Our current farm policy is contrary to our nutritional, environmental, and
economic needs. Agricultural policy should not undermine the public’s
health, especially our children’s health. Nor should it promote or allow con-
tinued degradation of our natural environment. A healthy food system
should ensure the well-being of consumers and of farmers, in addition to
the producers, processors, and distributors upon whom they depend.
Organic and regional food production are promising examples of change.
Unhealthy people in unhealthy places cannot produce healthy food. The
health community has the responsibility to assure the conditions in which
people can be healthy. This means getting involved with agricultural policy
to influence a better food supply.
Recommendations for Personal Action
Direct policy-makers’ and the public’s focus on the taxpayer-supported
food system; become a vocal participant in efforts to reform the Farm Bill
by writing stories, editorials, and arranging visits with policy-makers.
Advocate more effectively for sustainable food policies, in part by providing
testimony at local, state, and congressional hearings related to these issues.
Model “food literate” behavior by purchasing sustainably grown foods.
Communicate the expense of our current food system in terms of taxes, ill
health, and environmental costs.
Promote further research on health issues stemming from our current food
system, including health impact assessments and cost-benefit analyses.
Develop case studies to identify sustainable, successful food systems.
Support efforts to maintain strong organic certification qualifications.
Support the labeling of dairy and meat products grown without antibiotics,
growth hormones, endocrine disruptors, and other agents of concern.
Recommendations for Institutional Action
Promote the consumption of locally grown, humane, and sustainably
produced, healthy foods at schools and health care institutions.
Establish comprehensive food policies on health care premises, as done at
Kaiser Permanente, to promote healthy food choices in inpatient food
Agriculture Policy Is Health Policy 405
services, cafeterias, vending machines, food carts, and catered meals; and
to support agricultural practices that are ecologically sound, culturally
appropriate, and socially responsible.
Provide informational material on the steps an individual can take to buy
and use sustainably grown food along with other preventive health literature
in waiting rooms or on the Internet.
Learn from the success of organizational and governmental policies that
limited contracts to facilities that were nonsmoking and disability
accessible. We suggest that all health and professional organizations try
to utilize sustainably produced foods at their meetings and lodging
Recommendations for State Agriculture Departments
Create a multidisciplinary leadership team to lead discussions about creating
sustainable food systems and instituting incentives to develop them.
Advocate for a “regional food system report card” and require that this
information be made available to the public.
Develop a life cycle approach with “all cost accounting” to agricultural
decisions. Add environmental and health perspectives into all major
reports and programming.
Make explicit and public all input in agricultural decisions, including
participation from lobbyists.
Recommendations for Policy & Regulatory Action
Make increasing the affordability and quality of nutritious foods the goal
of farm policy.
Revise the current Farm Bill subsidy structure to equally support naturally
grown specialty crops and cap farm payments to large operations to
support family farms.
Focus federal research on various types of production systems that incor-
porate sustainable and healthful agricultural production.
Increase federal research on structural interventions that reduce the health
impact of current food production systems and increase access to healthy
calories. Good models are “edible schoolyards,” community-supported
agriculture, and farmers’ markets.
Support research into the health effects of agricultural production, including
antibiotic resistance, pesticides, toxins, hormones, corn sweeteners, grain-fed
livestock, and the true costs of “traveled” foods.
Evaluate the costs and benefits of changes to the food system on health
care costs related to chronic disease.
406 R. J. Jackson et al.
Allow school food programs to tailor meals to the nutritional needs of
their students.
Support human body burden biomonitoring of antibiotics and food toxicants.
Support transparency in food production.
Ensure access to information or reports by communities and governments
regarding use of agricultural inputs such as pesticides (as required in
California), antibiotics, and fertilizers.
Ensure access to information or reports on off-migration of pollutants,
antibiotics, resistant organisms, and air and water pollutants from CAFOs.
Eliminate or revise regulations that prevent small-scale livestock operations.
Consider the benefits of supporting small farmers, including job growth
and environmental stewardship benefits.
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... What farmers grow, what food is available, who will profit, the long-term availability of food, and environmental consequences are all influenced by the US Farm Bill, International Monetary Fund and the World Bank (Jackson et al., 2009;Story et al., 2009). Governmental support to mainly four grains: barley, corn, rice and wheat, which occupy 40% of global cropland, are translating in the global marketplace into mostly modified, pre-packaged foods. ...
... These policies are influenced by federal legislation passed by Congress every 5 to 7 years in the Farm Bill. The Farm Bill was initially created to help increase and secure farm revenues, to ensure a steady food supply, and support the American farm economy (Jackson et al., 2009). Thus governments, retailers, food manufacturers increasingly determine what farmers grow by placing strict requirements in contractual agreements. ...
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... What farmers grow, what food is available, who will profit, the long-term availability of food, and environmental consequences are all influenced by the US Farm Bill, International Monetary Fund and the World Bank (Jackson et al., 2009;Story et al., 2009). Governmental support to mainly four grains: barley, corn, rice and wheat, which occupy 40% of global cropland, are translating in the global marketplace into mostly modified, pre-packaged foods. ...
... These policies are influenced by federal legislation passed by Congress every 5 to 7 years in the Farm Bill. The Farm Bill was initially created to help increase and secure farm revenues, to ensure a steady food supply, and support the American farm economy (Jackson et al., 2009). Thus governments, retailers, food manufacturers increasingly determine what farmers grow by placing strict requirements in contractual agreements. ...
Conference Paper
ABSTRACT The aim of this descriptive study is to explain the relationship between the indicators of innovation and the level of development with the aid of controlled economies and WEF data. Keywords: Development, Innovation, Controlled economies, G20. INTRODUCTION AND RESEARCH QUESTION Schumpeter claims that if firms desire to establish a superiority in terms of competition the main element of this is the innovation (Su, 2003: 37). Innovation can be described as a commercial result of a new idea or invention (Özbek and Atik, 2013: 195). In today’s competition environment, innovation is identified as the development of new products, services and methods based on knowledge and the logrolling of it in order to attain commercial earning (Dulupçu et al., 2007: 8). Innovation has strong effects on various fields of countries such as their development levels, social life, industrialisation and even agriculture. In sum, the concept of innovation means the transformation of an idea into an invention and the commercialization of it. This definition involves various features such as scientific thought, process and knowledge. In brief, the primary source of economic development in the long run is viewed as innovation. In this context, those countries who comprehended the importance of innovation early and took precautions respectively have gained the status of developed countries. CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK In the study firstly the conceptual framework of innovation and its types are given place. Secondly, the definition of development is made, the three stages of development are examined in detail and the relationship between innovation and development is mentioned. Lastly, G20 countries and the indicators of innovation are discussed and in the context of Global Competitiveness Report their levels of development are assessed and sub-indicators are given place according to the stages of development. At the same time, in the context of Human Development Report, it is examined that if there is a connection between innovation controlled countries and very high human development with an economic point of view. Concordantly a conclusion and recommendations part is constituted for non-innovation controlled countries. 1 World Economic Forum - Global Competitiveness Report METHODOLOGY Accordingly, firstly the theoretical basis of innovation and development is examined. Secondly, in the context of Global Competitiveness Report, G20 countries are grouped in accordance with the levels of development. Finally, those countries enumerated according to the indicators of innovation are also enumerated in line with the Human Development Report and examined and compared with an economic point of view. FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION The study is descriptive. The findings are attained with the examination of related literature and available data. Existing findings are tabulated and analysed and interpreted with an economic line of vision. RESULTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS G20 countries are examined with HDR2 and WEF data and it is determined that those innovation controlled countries mostly have very high human development indices. In this context, innovation controlled countries are, at the same time, at the top of the list of human development indices and therefore there is a positive relationship between these two variables
... Agricultural policy, through its effect on price and availability of food, is known to be an important determinant of health (Pekka et al. 2002;Zatonski and Willett 2005;Birt 2007;Jackson et al. 2009;Hawkesworth et al. 2010;Wallinga 2010;Nugent 2011). However, health has largely been left out of consideration in agricultural policies (Dorward and Dangour 2012;Fields 2004;Hawkesworth et al. 2010), and tension between agricultural and nutritional/health policies is commonplace, and not only in the EU (Aguirre et al. 2015;Popkin 2011). ...
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The TEEBAgriFood ‘Scientific and Economic Foundations’ report addresses the core theoretical issues and controversies underpinning the evaluation of the nexus between the agri-food sector, biodiversity and ecosystem services and externalities including human health impacts from agriculture on a global scale. It argues the need for a ‘systems thinking‘ approach, draws out issues related to health, nutrition, equity and livelihoods, presents a Framework for evaluation and describes how it can be applied, and identifies theories and pathways for transformational change.
... 14 Insufficient attention has been paid to the food system as an "upstream determinant" of health. 15 Covid-19 exposes weaknesses in public health and shows where radical transformation and prevention are needed-to promote population health and reduce the burden on health systems in both "normal" times and times of crisis. ...
... It is the responsibility of the health community to ensure the conditions for people's health. This means participating in agricultural policies to influence better food supply (Jackson et al., 2009). Someone may be a good manager, but being a good politician is another matter. ...
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The ancient Fertile Crescent in particular, is commonly comprehended as the origin of agriculture. The location of Western Asia covers the area of Mesopotamia and the Levant, and is limited by Syrian Desert to the south and the Anatolian Plateau to the north. First of all, a good diagnosis is needed to treat the disease, it is necessary to make a good diagnosis and definition for our sectors such as agriculture which connects our past, current and future life. In the agricultural sector, like other sectors, if we ask for a timely diagnosis and treatment of issues; certainly, we don't have to demand more because of neglect. The basis of the agricultural sector also is a science. World population has been growing and natural resources such as land and water is already under stress. To make a nation healthy and to meet food demand along with nutrition security, agriculture would continue remain as the top most priority sector for any country. Agriculture provides food, fibre and raw materials to industry. It contributes significantly to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Agriculture provides cleaner, better environment for people to lead healthy life on earth. Moreover, it provides employment to large section of the people. If a nation has to be strong, then it has to be self-reliant coupled with strong agricultural economy that supports ecological and nutritional security. The history of agriculture has showed an important value in human development. More than half of all human around the World once efforted in farming, and even today, few—if any—humans could survive without it.This paper depicts the agricultural history and policy reforms and structural changes in World from past to the current times.
Vicissitudes are an inevitable part of the developmental process. Agriculture, for eras, which has been known for its contribution to the livelihood of the human population over the world, is not an exception to this fact. The anthropogenic development happened in all other sectors of the global economy like population growth, industrialization, urbanization, changed preference in consumption pattern, climate changes, etc. created and accelerated many folded hurdles in the agriculture. These hurdles are conflicting production and consumption system, post-harvest losses, food wastage, food crisis, triple burden of malnutrition, etc. which need immediate action to maintain its sustainability. This chapter highlights the need and scope of futuristic approaches, including climate-smart agriculture, nutritional farming, nontraditional and urban farming, diversified agriculture, robotics in agriculture, ICT-led agriculture, post-production, post-harvest management, logistics and value chain development, surplus management, waste to wealth in agriculture, etc. The chapter also includes the policy options and its imperatives for farmer income-led agriculture, nutritional-sensitive agriculture and farming to reach the unfed population, etc. to conquer the emerging challenges in agriculture.
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The purpose of agricultural policies is to meet the food demand that the society needs. While supports and incentives for agricultural production increase production, they can have negative consequences on climate change. In parallel with the increase in agricultural production and climate change in the world, there has been a serious increase in both food waste and obese numbers recently. While the overproduction effort of agricultural products creates pressure on the environment, it causes obesity and overweight problems. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Turkey is at the forefront among the countries where there are obese and overweight people. In the 11th Development Plan in Turkey, in 2018 the prevalence of obesity is 30% (for ages 15 and over) in 2023 is targeted to be reduced to 29.1. The aim of this research is to draw attention to the relationship between climate change and obesity and to address the issue within the framework of the 11th Development Plan. Obesity issues for Turkey; since it is important in terms of food security, climate change and agricultural policies, it is necessary to develop political guidance and protection measures in terms of health, economy, education, environment and national security.
Reimagining a new food system for recovering the health of the Chesapeake Bay and its people requires addressing the ethics of the current way we produce and consume food. The present food system is built on making profit with the aid of government subsidies focused on producton of health-damaging animal agriculture. As is the case for most of the US, the Chesapeake Bay region produces more food than it uses, exporting surpluses elsewhere. Consistent surplus production depresses prices. Wealthier farmers take advantage of a system of price supports to sustain their profits. Despite the excess production of food, most of the workers in the food system earn such low wages that they require government subsidized nutrition, organized through the US Department of Agriculture. Many of the lowest paid food system workers are people of color and migrant laborers from Mexico and Central America. Only 7% of the food dollar goes to pay producers, with most of it going to the food service and food processing industries. About 10% of the residents of the Chesapeake Bay region face regular food insecurity and 14% receive subsidized nutrition benefits. The animal product-centered food system pollutes the Chesapeake Bay and sickens its people, while causing the suffering and premature deaths of industrially farmed animals. Extensive use of pesticides and artificial fertilizers on crops grown for animal feed (corn and soy) further degrade the ecosystem. Elements of a new ethical food system include organic production for whole plant based diets, imporved compensation for workers, eliminating the exploitation of animals, developing food literacy, increasing the amount of food prepared at home, replacing corporate profit with social and environmental need as the driving force of agriculture, subsidizing healthy foods, and encouraging local farming with direct distribution to consumers.
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This article provides a brief overview of the sustainability and food security challenges posed by escalating meat demand and explores current strategies for addressing this issue. The essay concludes with thoughts on the role of law and policy in facilitating these strategies. In the final analysis, given the nature of such a complex social problem, there is no magic bullet solution. Rather, use of different strategies tailored to specific conditions, are necessary to tackle the challenge of mounting demands for protein worldwide
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Industrial animal agriculture is grounded in the concept of maximizing productivity and profit. Selective breeding for maximum productivity in one characteristic of the animal (e.g. milk yield in cows, or breast meat in broiler chickens) has resulted in genotypes and phenotypes that may predispose the animals to poor health and welfare. The conditions in which these individuals are kept may also frustrate many inherited behaviors that they are strongly motivated to perform. In order to curb the resulting harmful aberrant behaviors, such as feather-pecking in chickens, we sometimes resort to mutilating the animals. In many places chickens are routinely de-beaked by means of a hot metal guillotine. Compassion in World Farming (an international organization that promotes the humane treatment of farm animals) believes that it is unethical to treat sentient beings in such ways. We have a duty to respect farm animals' sentience by providing them with housing conditions that take their needs and wants into account, and by reverting to the use of dual-purpose, slower-growing breeds that have the potential for good welfare. Alternatives to current farming practices are available, and we owe it to the animals, and to our consciences, to pursue them.
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This paper analyses how farm access to credit affects farm input allocation and farm efficiency in the CEE transition countries. Drawing on a unique farm level panel data with 37,409 observations and employing a matching estimator we are able to control for the key source of endogeneity – unoberserved heterogeneity. We find that farms are credit constrained both in the short-run as well as in the long-run, but that credit constraint is asymmetric between inputs. Our estimates suggest that farm access to credit increases TFP up to 1.9% per 1000 EUR of additional credit. The use of variable inputs and capital investment increases up to 2.3% and 29%, respectively, per 1000 EUR of additional credit. Due to credit-financed investment in labour-saving farm equipment, labour use reduces for low level of credit. Farms are found not to be credit constrained with respect to land.
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A major food safety incident in China was made public in September 2008. Kidney and urinary tract effects, including kidney stones, affected about 300,000 Chinese infants and young children, with six reported deaths. Melamine had been deliberately added at milk-collecting stations to diluted raw milk ostensibly to boost its protein content. Subsequently, melamine has been detected in many milk and milk-containing products, as well as other food and feed products, which were also exported to many countries worldwide. The melamine event represents one of the largest deliberate food contamination incidents. We provide a description and analysis of this event to determine the global implications on food and feed safety. A series of factors, including the intentional character of the milk contamination, the young age of the population affected, the large number of potentially contaminated products, the global distribution of these products, and the delay in reporting led this event to take on unexpected proportions. This incident illustrated the complexity of international trade of food products and food ingredients that required immediate actions at international level. Managing food-safety events should be done internationally and early on as soon as multinational consequences are expected. Collaboration between food-safety authorities worldwide is needed to efficiently exchange information and to enable tracking and recalling of affected products to ensure food safety and to protect public health.
DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. — In a glassed-off area in the headquarters of Sara Lee, a handful of specialists study computer screens and flat-screen televisions beaming the latest weather reports and commodity prices. They are sourcing ingredients from all over the world to make Sara Lee's assortment of breads, deli meats and microwaveable desserts. The lowering of trade barriers more than a decade ago has pushed food companies to scour the globe for more exotic — or the cheapest — ingredients to compete in a more global marketplace, not unlike automakers shipping in parts from all over. But with America's relatively permissible food-import rules and weak inspection regime, is the trend to assemble food from so many far-flung locations heightening the risks of contamination? "Once ingredients are incorporated into processed foods, it is hard to check whether they come from overseas or to verify if there are any unsafe contaminants in the products," said Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington lobby group. "This is increasing the chances that people will get unsafe food." The concerns of Mr. Jacobson and some in Congress are being stoked by the recent scandal involving pet food contaminated with an industrial chemical called melamine and imported from China, which has resulted in thousands of pets being sickened or killed. Food industry executives say they understand the risks of foreign sourcing and are taking pains to mitigate them. "Ingredients from overseas are not the issue," said Robert Earl, senior director of nutrition policy at the Grocery Manufacturers of America, a trade group that represents many of the largest food processors. "The problem comes from incorrect practices from manufacturers that happen to be in another country." David L. Brown, Sara Lee's vice president for procurement, said consumers should not be concerned. "We are going to do our homework," he said, including vetting foreign factories and in some cases investing money to improve food-safety standards. "It is our responsibility to make sure what we are feeding people is safe. But the more variables you enter into, the more risk you have naturally. It is all about how you address those unknowns." The controls in place to ensure that foreign-sourced ingredients are safe "are evolving as the world changes," Mr. Brown said.
What should we have for dinner? When you can eat just about anything nature (or the supermarket) has to offer, deciding what you should eat will inevitably stir anxiety, especially when some of the foods might shorten your life. Today, buffeted by one food fad after another, America is suffering from a national eating disorder. As the cornucopia of the modern American supermarket and fast food outlet confronts us with a bewildering and treacherous landscape, what's at stake becomes not only our own and our children's health, but the health of the environment that sustains life on earth. Pollan follows each of the food chains--industrial food, organic or alternative food, and food we forage ourselves--from the source to the final meal, always emphasizing our coevolutionary relationship with the handful of plant and animal species we depend on. The surprising answers Pollan offers have profound political, economic, psychological, and even moral implications for all of us.--From publisher description.
Agricultural policies help shape which, and in what relative quantities, foods are produced and consumed in the United States. This review of existing US agricultural policies reveals some important contributing factors to negative trends in overweight and obesity and helps to identify possible strategies for redirecting such policies so as to blunt and reverse those trends. Unlike expensive and often unsuccessful treatments of obesity, changes to agricultural policy that could help prevent obesity may not only be “nine tenths of the cure” but a highly effective public investment.