Week 9 - Farm Bill and Food Labels


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  • USDA Organic =
    “100% Organic”: 100% of the ingredients must be organic
    “Organic”: For a USDA Certified Organic seal, the product must have at least 95% organic ingredients
    “Made with Organic Ingredients”: Must have at least 70 percent organic ingredients, and list up to three organic ingredients or food groups on the principal display panel
    Any product with less than 70% organic ingredients cannot print organic on their principal display panel, but may list organically produced ingredients in the ingredients list.
    Fair Trade Certified (Reliable) Ensures that farmers receive fair prices, workers receive fair wages, and enables more direct access to the global market. TransFair USA certifies coffee, tea, herbs, cocoa, chocolate, bananas, sugar, rice, vanilla, flowers, and honey, based on the principles of fair prices, fair labor conditions, direct trade, community development, and environmental sustainability. 
    Certified Humane Raised and Handled (Reliable) Humane Farm Animal Care, an independent non-profit organization, certifies eggs, dairy, meat, and poultry. Their Animal Care Standards require that animals are allowed to engage in their natural behaviors, have sufficient space, shelter, and gentle handling to limit stress, and have ample fresh water and a healthy diet without added antibiotics or hormones. Inspections are carried out annually.
  • Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry
    Chairwoman Stabenow (D-MI) and Ranking Member Roberts (R-KS)
    11 Democrats and 10 Republicans (2 newbies in 2011)
    House Committee on Agriculture
    Chairman Lucas (R-OK) and Ranking Member Peterson (D-MN)
    26 Republicans and 20 Democrats
    16 new Republicans and 7 new Democrats
  • http://farm.ewg.org/
    Environmental Working Group – Ken Cook
  • Title I: Commodity Programs, including commodity crop price support (for wheat, corn, barley, grain sorghum, oats, upland cotton, rice, soybeans and other oilseeds, and peanuts) and income support programs – $41.6 billion; 

    Title II: Conservation, providing for farmland preservation, with special consideration to beginning, limited-resourced, and socially disadvantaged producers, specialty crop producers, and producers transitioning to organic methods – $24.1 billion;

    Title III: Trade, covering food aid, export market development, and export credit guarantee programs e.g. the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program and the Market Access Program (MAP) – $1.9 billion;

    Title IV: Nutrition, providing primarily for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program) – $188.9 billion;

    Title V: Credit, providing for the two government-related farm lenders, the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the Farm Credit System (FCS) – ($1.4 billion);

    Title VI: Rural Development, supporting rural development through loan and grant programs for economic and infrastructure development, including broadband and telecommunications infrastructure – $.2 billion;

    Title VII: Research, providing for the administration of research, extension, and economic analysis programs – $.03 billion; 

    Title VIII: Forestry, providing assistance to local entities engaged in protecting and restoring forests – $40 million
    Title IX: Energy, promoting bio-fuels and cellulosic ethanol production – $.6 billion;

    Title X: Horticulture and Organic Agriculture, providing grants to state departments of agriculture for U.S specialty crop research, marketing, and promotion, expansion of farmers’ markets, transitioning farmers to organic production, and cooperative federal-state pest and disease detection programs – $.4 billion: 

    Title XI: Livestock, supporting livestock and poultry marketing and competition and contracted producer rights, stockyard and packing reporting and tracking requirements, and country of origin retailing requirements and providing for state-inspected meat to enter inter-state commerce – $1 million;

    Title XII: Crop Insurance and Disaster Assistance, providing for crop insurance and farm disaster assistance – $21.9 billion;

    Title XIII: Commodity Futures, providing for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) – no cost;

    Title XIV: Miscellaneous, affecting research, energy, and rural development and providing assistance to socially disadvantaged and limited-resourced producers – $6.4 billion;
    Title XV: Trade and Tax Provisions, containing trade and tax provisions and providing for supplemental Agricultural Disaster Assistance – $3.8 billion
  • Week 9 - Farm Bill and Food Labels

    1. 1. Product name and manufacturer Where was it grown? Does it have any certified labels or does it state “sustainable or health” claims? Does the label provide information about the farmer or farming practices? Are the ingredients listed? Are there any ingredients that stand out or raise a red flag?
    2. 2. Could a factory farm be organic? Was an organic cow entitled to dine on pasture? Do food additives and synthetic chemicals have a place in organic processed food?
    3. 3. Now a $7.7 billion business – dominated by large corporations (hence marketing/labeling schemes) Consumers of organic food imagine their carrots and soy milk coming from small, local farms Grocery stores aren’t farmer’s markets Worry that new megaproducers bring with them the same old problems of conventional agriculture =  Energy-intensive production methods  Long-distance food transportation  Weaken organic standards
    4. 4. Availability has mushroomed – fresh produce, milk, eggs, cereal, frozen food, and junk food Gerber’s, Heinz, Dole, ConAgra, ADM… all created or acquired organic brands. Cascadian Farm Organic Frozen Dinners – still have “natural” chicken flavors, xanthan gum, soy lecithin… many “organic” additives – HEALTHY?  A subsidiary of General Mills (3rd largest food conglomerate in North America)  General Mills “PR Farm”
    5. 5. Horizon Organic Milk – Colorado company = $127 million (AKA the Microsoft of organic milk) controlling 70 percent of the retail market  Ultrapasturized milk – high heat that “kills the milk” including enzymes and vitamins so it can travel long distance  Factory Farms in the west = organic CAFOs eating certified organic grain
    6. 6. • USDA regulations allow food products that contain 95100% certified organic ingredients • Prohibit chemical fertilizers, synthetic substances, irradiation, sewer sludge or GMOs in production • Prohibit antibiotic and synthetic hormone use in organic meat and poultry • Require 100% organic feed for organic livestock • Labeled “100% organic,” “organic,” or just “made with organic ingredients,” non-organic ingredients cannot be produced from GMOs
    7. 7. 1). What is the U.S. Farm Bill? A. A guidebook for effective farming in the U.S. B. The federal government's primary legislation that addresses both domestic and international policies on agriculture and food. C. A bill that allows the federal government to investigate U.S. farms without a warrant in order to ensure food safety. D. A federal government policy that promotes good health by providing a tax subsidy for buying produce in farmers’ markets.
    8. 8. Answer: B - The Farm Bill is passed every five years by Congress and dictates laws and affairs under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
    9. 9. 2). True or False: “The Farm Bill only impacts U.S. producers & consumers.”
    10. 10. Answer: False -While the Farm Bill dictates domestic rules and regulations, many of its policies have international implications that impact small-scale farmers across the globe.
    11. 11. 3). What issues are regulated by the Farm Bill? A. Subsidies to encourage American farmers to grow more corn B. Tax credits for ethanol C. Regulations for organic agriculture D. Humanitarian food aid E. A and C F. All of the above
    12. 12. Answer: F - All of the above.
    13. 13. 4). For every dollar you spend on groceries, how much does a farmer get? A. B. C. D. $0.91 $0.66 $0.16 $0.36
    14. 14. Answer: C - $0.16 cents for every dollar. 84.2 cents pays for food marketing, while just 15.8 cents is spent on the raw farm commodities themselves. "Food marketing” includes transportation, processing, and distribution. In other words, we spend five times as much on getting our food from farm to table as we do on actually growing it.
    15. 15. 5). Peaches, bell peppers, strawberries, pears, spinach, and potatoes are among the twelve fruits and vegetables distinguished on a list by the Environmental Working Group as what? A. Grown with unsustainable methods B. Mostly imported from abroad C. Most often contaminated by pesticides D. Often genetically modified
    16. 16. Answer: C - Most often contaminated by pesticides along with apples, celery, nectarines, cherries, lettuce and grapes.
    17. 17. 6). When you go for your morning cup of coffee, choosing a brand with which of the following certifications can help small farmers earn a higher share of the profit: A. USDA Organic B. Fair Trade C. Food Alliance D. Rainforest Alliance
    18. 18. Answer: B - Fair Trade. Fair trade certification ensures that farmers receive a minimum set price, workers receive fair wages, and growers follow sound environmental practices.
    19. 19. Comprehensive piece of legislation Written by the Agriculture Committees Reauthorized every 5-7 years Next reauthorization up in 2013 (2012 legislation extension)
    20. 20. How food is grown What food is grown Who grows it Our diets and public health Well-being of farmers and farm workers Rural communities Environment and natural resources
    21. 21. 2008 Farm Bill Titles Title I Title II Title III Title IV Title V Title VI Title VII Title VIII Title IX Title X Title XI Title XII Title XIII Title XIV Title XV Commodity Programs Conservation Trade Nutrition Credit Rural Development Research Forestry Bio Fuels and Ethanol Horticulture and Organic Agriculture Livestock Crop Insurance and Disaster Assistance Commodity Futures Miscellaneous Trade and Tax Provisions 5 Year Budget $41.6 billion $24.1 billion $1.9 billion $188.9 billion $1.4 billion $200 million $300 million $40 million $600 million $400 million $1 million $21.9 billion no cost $6.4 billion $3.8 billion
    22. 22. Where does all the $ go?
    23. 23. But farm bill spending doesn’t reflect these recommendations.
    24. 24. $33.1 billion spent on commodity crops from 2008 - 2010 corn soybeans cotton rice wheat
    25. 25. $4.3 billion spent on specialty crops from 2008 - 2010 fruits nuts vegetables
    26. 26. The Price of Fruits & Vegetables Continues to go UP!
    27. 27. What do you think needs to CHANGE in the new FARM BILL?
    28. 28. 1. Fair Farm Bill: For YOU • Better Choices! Breaking up the agribusiness monopolies will bring a more vibrant marketplace. • Increased Access! More families will have easy access to healthy foods they can afford. • Stronger Local Infrastructure! Reversing the consolidation in the food system would allow for more local businesses.
    29. 29. 2. Fair Farm Bill: For Farmers • A Level Playing Field! A fair marketplace for small farmers cannot exist without breaking up the agribusiness monopolies. • Fair Markets! Farm pricing and contract policies can ensure that ALL producers receive – enough from their sales – services to provide a fair return.
    30. 30. 3. Fair Farm Bill: For the Environment • Environmental Stewardship! Conservation programs can improve biodiversity, minimize pollution, and conserve essential resources. • Sustainable Farming! Independent farmers will receive support to help them shift to more diversified operations.