When you actually follow the money, it may appear that it all goes to ‘Big Ag’ in terms of large producers that then in turn buy inputs from companies like Monsanto. In reality, subsidies make up a very small percent of the budget of the largest farms and likely don’t impact input or cropping decisions. They actually make the largest difference in terms of budget to the smaller producers.
Among those most lagging in green technology adoption are organic producers, which have zero tolerance for GMOs, (although fully embracing more volatile methods utilizing nuclear radiation to breed better plants). So, its not entirely clear cut that taking funds from local and organic programs would have a net negative impact on the environment, or that it promotes ‘destructive’ agriculture.
Do subsidies largely favor the consumption of low quality foods as opposed to healthy fruits and vegetables? Are we propping up the companies that process corn and soy?
Some people have the impression that healthy supplements in our diets, like fruits and vegetables, are more expensive than processed foods containing staples like corn and soybeans because corn and soybeans are subsidized more heavily than fruits and vegetables. This couldn't be further from the truth. The agronomics, labor, risk, economies of scale, and capital costs associated with fruit and vegetable production make those crops much more expensive than commodities, and have a much larger role on their prices than subsidies. Eliminating commodity programs would have an insignificant impact at the retail level on staple food prices relative to fruits and vegetables.
In fact, most of the research indicates that completely eliminating corn subsidies would reduce corn based food consumption by less than ½ of 1% .
Never mind the fact that soy is one of the healthiest food products that you can eat, and a large amount of corn ultimately goes to producing healthy, sustainable, and nutritious meat products like lean beef!
The overall impact of completely eliminating U.S. commodity protection and subsidies at the commodity level in terms of total acres produced and commodity prices would also be minimal, as reported by researchers at UC Davis: