Dan Morgan, a former Washington Post reporter and former Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, who is now an independent writer specializing in agriculture and energy, has written a paper titled, “The Farm Bill and Beyond.”
A summary of the comprehensive paper, which was posted yesterday at the German Marshall Fund Online, indicated that, “More than a year after the U.S. Congress enacted a new multi-year farm bill (the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008), the politics of agriculture in Washington have been substantially reshuffled. Proposed climate change legislation has confronted the farm bloc with issues that received scant attention in the farm bill itself. At the same time, the congressional energy committees and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-not the traditional guardians of agriculture-have taken the lead in shaping climate and biofuels policies that could have long-term impacts on farmers. At the White House, President Obama has proposed cutting some key subsidies, and he has signaled interest in aligning himself-at least symbolically-with a grass roots movement that supports ‘sustainable agriculture’ and ‘healthy foods.’ These developments have moved long-standing tensions over agriculture policy to center stage.
“This paper by agricultural commentator and former GMF Transatlantic Fellow Dan Morgan examines these tensions in the context of the 2008 farm bill, with a view to setting the stage for the next phase of the debate in the United States and Europe over climate, energy, farm subsidies, food safety, trade, and agricultural aid to farmers in developing countries.”