America continues to operate under an antiquated agricultural policy. We must push our elected leaders to reform the current system in favor of an agricultural policy focused on maximizing domestic markets and increasing America's food security.
The first step toward this objective is a redirection of government's role from subsidizing massive corporate farmers to subsidizing consumers. Farm subsidies have gone from being a safety net for American farmers during the darkest period of the Great Depression to another form of corporate welfare. This is not to say that subsidies serve no purpose, quite the contrary. The problem with the current subsidy program is that it subsidizes the wrong end of the spectrum.
Subsidizing consumers, on the other hand, would broaden the domestic consumer base for agricultural producers and revitalize family-owned-and-operated local farms. Moreover, a consumer-oriented subsidy program, carried out by a voucher-like program, would provide much-needed food security for the millions of individuals lacking adequate financial access to dependable food sources.
It is possible for American agriculture capacity to meet the demands of the domestic market by incentivizing farmers to grow crops for local consumers such as schools, food banks and nutritional assistance programs.
Thereby, farmers gain access to reliable local customers and consumers gain access to local fresh fruits, vegetables and livestock.
The foundation of a consumer-oriented agricultural policy is grounded in providing healthy and affordable food for all. Taking the affirmative steps now, we can finally end the persistence of chronic hunger and malnutrition, as we know it. That is why we must push our elected leaders to implement a sustainable consumer oriented 21st century agricultural policy.
Nigel Evan Jeffries