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Subsidy cuts with a side of greens

Sarah Gardner Feb 7, 2007


SCOTT JAGOW: Mom wanted you to eat your veggies and apparently so does the White House. This morning, the agriculture secretary will tell the Senate how great the administration’s farm bill is. The President wants to take money away from some farmers and give it to others. Here’s Sarah Gardner:

SARAH GARDNER: The administration’s bill would cut off support to the wealthiest farmers and reduce total subsidies by about 5 percent.

Agriculture secretary Mike Johanns calls it a more market-oriented approach that addresses some complaints from U.S. trading partners.

But the bill does include serious research and marketing money — about $5 billion — to promote American fruits and vegetables.

Tim Chelling at the Western Growers Association says that’s a first for the farm bill.

TIM CHELLING: This is really consistent with the USDA’s food pyramid. So you have an occasion here where American farm policy is starting to align with American nutrition policy.

Specialty crops like peaches and broccoli aren’t subsidized like commodity crops such as corn and soybeans, but they now represent nearly half of all U.S. farm revenues.

I’m Sarah Gardner for Marketplace.

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