Breaking the impasse of our current world trade talks [Agriculture Discord Stymies World Trade Talks] hinges on a win/win/win idea whose time is more then ready. The very same G-20 countries that walked out of Rio some years back and dashed the hopes of the Doha Rounds because they do not want our subsidized (USA tax payer funded) surplus corn, rice, soybeans, or cotton dumped on their economies are now helping us, the USA, arrive at a perfect solution.
Because of all the damage done to small farmers in developing nations and our own local small farms often being driven out of business; for more than a decade now I have been advocating total elimination of our farm subsidies (I was born on a small diversified family farm in northwest Illinois, of which very few remain today except among the growing sustainable organic farming movement, esp. CSAs or Community Supported Agriculture). It is apparent that by eliminating these 20 some billion dollars worth of distorting subsidies, we would be achieving many wins for our shared ecology (fewer toxic pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers), while also creating a level playing field for the world agricultural economy, including developing countries and small farmers worldwide. In fact, the only losers after the elimination of these farm subsidies would seem to be corporate farms and corporate Ag. Interests like Union Carbide, Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland, and Con Agra etc. Oh, and also all that artificially cheap disgusting corn syrup which is in so many prepared foods and junk foods, i.e. childhood and adult obesity, which by the way, kills around 300,000 Americans per year.
This then now brings us to our perfect solution, we can still keep our subsidized welfare checks rolling to the corporate farms and corporate Ag. giants. All we have to do is switch all of them to a more perfect crop for our money: SWITCH GRASS, which according to Oak Ridge National Laboratories in Oak Ridge Tennessee, delivers 5 to 20 times more energy to bio fuel than fuel made from corn. This crop enables them to bring a product to market that is actually needed and far easier for them to grow. So now we finally have our win/win/win/win! Good for small farmers, developing nations, ecology, in terms of both air and soil quality [Switch Grass is a native perennial requiring no replanting, no pesticides, and no herbicides. It also can provide habitat for ground animals and will not kill monarch butterflies like genetically engineered corn], good for lessening our dependence on foreign oil, i.e. sending our cash to the Middle East to end up supporting countries who tolerate and encourage jihadists.
This is our wake-up call America!
Brian J. Haag
Founder of Big Medicine, N.F.P / big-medicine.org
Member of OXFAM America Chicago, IL.