The following commentary does not necessarily reflect the views of AgWeb or Farm Journal Media. The opinions expressed below are the author's own.
Matt's primary interest is in the biotech industry and ag policy.
Pollan, in a lot of his writings tries to make connection between corn syrup and obesity and 'subsidies.' I would like to know exactly which 'subsidies' he is talking about. I'm not sure that countercyclical payment or loan deficiency payment type programs at the farm gate level really have an impact at the retail level great enough to create super savings and increased consumption of these 'bad' foods.
Research related to the claim of a connection between obesity and farm policy can be found here( from UC Davis).
"Given that consumers generally show limited responses to retail food price changes, eliminating the corn subsidy would reduce corn-based food consumption by at most 0.2 percent."
Pollan also proposes a food tax to curb consumption. Again, research ( from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University) indicates that the taxes required to have any real affect on obesity would be in the 1200 percent range, and even if taxes eliminated ( in this case soda) consumption, the impact on obesity would be very small. The study concludes that "the sensitivity of individuals to changes in relative food prices is not sufficient to make “fat taxes” a viable tool to lower obesity."
To coin a phrase 'what's obesity got to do with the price of corn in Iowa'?- Not much.
From what youve said Ken I think you need to focus your efforts more toward food manufacturers. I just produce the corn, what they do with it and the ingredients they put in it are beyond my control. Second how much land do you want to take out of production? I think we already have some 30 plus million acres out of production. It sounds good to me lets offer another round of CRP for another 30 million and see if thats enough to get crop prices where they belong so than you could eliminate LDP payments.
Do any of you have kids. Well I have four. The only reason we have an obesity problem isnt overeating it is lack of exercise. Thanks to nintendo, nintendo64, x-box, guitar heroe, and the list goes on and on.. I forgot also the internet, texting, etc. My kids do not get physical activity due to these games. This is your health care problem. I think you want to go to a grocery store thats always got food in it. These kids are addicted to these games, they would play them all day if I let them. No physical activity anymore for the next generation. Been to ball games and kids are just plain out of shape on account of it. I can say this with 100% certainty....... It isnt farmers making the next generation overeat, it is the new technology fun and games making them less physically active. Why dont you go tax them a bunch. This same converation has occured by sports dads all across this country........ Its my own fault I bought them the games and internet but all the other kids had these games...........To somehow twist this as being a farmer problem is really way out there. Do some studying on cost of production for ag.
When we first came up with crp it was supposed to take environmntally poor crop land out of production and it did. The second thing it was supposed to do was raise prices enough to where we wouldnt need LDP payments. I think somehwere along the line the market and general public forgot about this........