Weekend reading: Effects of Industrial agriculture on health and the environment
I reviewed an earlier draft of this report, and was impressed by its comprehensiveness and attention to detail. If you are interested in understanding how our current agricultural system came about, what problems it causes, and what to do about them, this report is an excellent place to start.
It’s “new vision for farm and food policy” calls for:
- An end to subsidies that encourage farm specialization, intensification, and overproduction
- Practices that reduce soil loss and water pollution
- Ending the use of medically important antibiotics
- Aligning agricultural policy with health policy
It is time for a change in our agricultural policies and priorities, away from a near absolute emphasis on maximizing production and toward ameliorating the problems caused by the intensification and specialization of farming. Developing a more balanced agricultural system will require extensive changes throughout our food production system. Those reforms will threaten established interests and reshape farming in the U.S., but also create opportunities to build more vibrant rural communities. Accepting those challenges is essential because the
threats generated by current farming practices cannot be ignored any longer.