[eDebate] Fwd: Vote for Ag - from Scott Varda

Bryan Grayson bryan.grayson
Fri Apr 25 15:56:36 CDT 2008


Scott Varda asked me to forward this.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: scott varda <scottvarda at gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Apr 25, 2008 at 3:51 PM
Subject: Vote for Ag
To: bryan.grayson at gmail.com


Could you post this for me?

Not making any arguments, but here's some cards

No U Problems, SQ still SQ:

farm bill close to passing now
MARY CLARE JALONICK 4-24-08 AP
http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5i440tH3TeSZXsKhDYs-GYMqnLhXAD908FE8O0
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said
farm-state lawmakers are "very close" to a deal on the bill but it
would be impossible to finish it all by May 2, when current law would
expire under the new extension.
Harkin said negotiators were discussing adding more nutrition money to
the bill. That would be a concession to urban lawmakers such as House
Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel of New York, who has
been charged along with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus
with finding extra money for the legislation.

Farm bill will pass, regulations will not increase, subsidies WILL
increase, biofuel mandates won't change
DAVID M. HERSZENHORN New York Times, 4-24-08
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/24/washington/24farm.html?em&ex=1209182400&en=b929fb0ef3f9165f&ei=5087%0A
WASHINGTON ? Americans are in sticker-shock over grocery prices, while
people in developing countries are rioting over food shortages. And
across the heartland, American farmers are enjoying record incomes,
but losing sleep over rising expenses and turbulence in the commodity
futures markets.
Here on Capitol Hill, though, it is pretty much farm politics as usual.
As Congress works toward final passage of the farm bill, it is poised
to continue most of the existing farmer subsidy programs, including
about $5.2 billion a year in so-called "direct payments" that will be
disbursed even as net farm income is projected to hit a historic high
in 2008. The farm bill, which comes along once every five years and
will cost upward of $300 billion, in fact will do little to address
many of the most pressing concerns. It will not change biofuel
mandates that are directing more corn to ethanol and contributing to a
global rise in food prices. It will do little to ease worldwide food
shortages. And at a time of high volatility in the futures markets, it
will not require tougher regulation. In other words, Congress seems
oblivious. And longstanding critics of American policy are piling on.


Different from Europe topic--literature is better:

More attention and analysis focused on food policy NOW than ever before
Alan Hunt (senior policy analyst for food and farm policy at the
Northeast-Midwest Institute and coordinator of the Farm and Food
Policy Project) 4-24-08
The rising cost of food worldwide is more complex than portrayed in
recent articles in The New York Times and the Washington Post.
Like a magician revealing his secrets, the once-invisible farm and
food system is drawing scrutiny from the media, policymakers, and the
public as we realize how intertwined our farm and food system is with
the energy sector and global markets.


NEG: Decreasing Biofuel subsidies raises food prices
PR Newswire 4-23-08
http://www.foxbusiness.com/article/whats-rising-cost-food_576063_1.html
Many critics point to ethanol as the cause of growing food costs and
suggest biofuels standards should be reexamined. What most don't
realize is that ethanol is just a fraction of the impact on food
costs. More importantly, without ethanol experts at Merrill Lynch
predict gas prices would be 15 percent higher. At today's average
prices, that would push a gallon of unleaded over the $4 mark!
Removing ethanol and replacing it with gas would cost Americans alone
more than $70 billion. Pulling back on biofuels would only exacerbate
the problem.
-continues-
Consider this: In 1949, the price of corn averaged $1.24 per bushel.
Now, corn futures are going for more than $6 per bushel. That's an
increase of 394 percent in 59 years. Compare that to oil. In 1949, it
averaged $2.54 per barrel. It's more than $110 per barrel today.
That's an increase of 4,376 percent in the same 59 years.
Without ethanol extending our natural resources, energy prices will
only continue to soar, driving up food prices in the process.

AFF: Biofuels raise food prices
Antoaneta Bezlova Apr 26, 2008
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/JD26Dj03.html
This is consistent with warnings from the International Assessment of
Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), released
in a report prepared by 400 experts that says diversion of
agricultural crops to producing biofuel can raise food prices.
Prices of non-grain feedstock such as cassava and sorghum have risen
too, squeezing producers' already thin profit margins.

Impacts: food riots in at least 12 countries, 20 million children at risk
David Nason, New York correspondent | April 26, 2008
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23599517-2703,00.html
But today, with the cost of staples such as rice, corn, wheat and
soybeans skyrocketing, with food riots breaking out across the globe
and with the UN's World Food Program warning of a "silent tsunami" of
hunger threatening the lives of 20 million of the world's poorest
children, galloping food inflation is raising Ehrlich-like fears of a
world where famine is no longer confined to war zones and sub-Saharan
Africa. Over the past six weeks the UN has reported food riots in
Egypt, Yemen, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia,
Cote d'Ivoire, Mauritania, Mozambique and Senegal. In the worst case
in Haiti, five people died and prime minister Jacques-Edouard Alexis
was forced from office.

Impacts: Food Price increases threaten conflicts in Afghanistan, Sudan,
Somalia
Stratfor 3-13-08
http://www.stratfor.com/analysis/global_market_brief_food_cost_crises
Global wheat prices rose by 83 percent at the outset of 2008 compared
to 2007 prices. Soybean prices hit an all-time high of $14.22 a bushel
in February, while corn prices rose to a 12-year high of $5.25 a
bushel. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that global grain
reserves have plummeted to the lowest level since 1960. Prices likely
will not fall for some time; as a matter of fact, the International
Food Policy Research Institute predicts that global cereal prices will
be 10 to 20 percent higher by 2015. Rising food prices threaten to
heighten conflict around the world and derail ? at least temporarily ?
economic gains in many of the poorest developing nations. Poor
countries that import a significant amount of food will suffer the
most, especially if conflict is already brewing ? as in Afghanistan,
Sudan and Somalia. Increased prices and food shortages in those
countries could lead to further distrust of the government and/or
other ethnic groups and lead to radicalism. Poor nations in which
citizens spend a significant proportion of their incomes on food will
experience setbacks in economic development as domestic consumers
divert spending away from consumption of local goods and services.

Impacts: Rising food prices destroy infrastructure development
Stratfor 3-13-08
http://www.stratfor.com/analysis/global_market_brief_food_cost_crises
When people can spend less money on food, they are free to spend more
money on other goods and services throughout the economy. This can
spur local business development and economic innovations that can
either be exported or used as substitutes for imports, which in turn
can make communities and countries less subject to exterior economic
forces. A stable and inexpensive food supply is a precursor to any
type of modern economic development for a nation. On the other hand,
the net importation of food ? at a national level ? requires the
expenditure of foreign reserves that could otherwise be spent on
schools, roads, equipment and the creation or improvement of a
nation's infrastructure.

People are so hungry they are eating dirt
Deroy Murdock 4-24-08
http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=OTBiOTY2ZTAyMWQwYTJkMDIwMmFiZGY4YzAxM2VkNjc=
Poor Haitians rioted last week outside Port-au-Prince's presidential
palace, forcing Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis's April 12
ouster. Haitians are sick and tired of food prices that are 40 percent
higher than last summer's. Some have resorted to eating cookies made
of salt, vegetable oil, and dirt. That's right: Dirt cookies.

Even Oklahoma can be topical and talk about regional issues
Tulsa World July 27, 2007
Even Tulsa has its share of farm-subsidy critics.
"The farm bill doesn't make common sense and fiscal sense," said the
Rev. Jeff Jaynes, pastor of Southern Hills United Methodist Church.
Jaynes argued that that billions in farm subsidies get paid to a
relatively small number of successful farmers. At the same time, he
believes that anti-hunger programs such as food stamps get
shortchanged.
Oklahoma producers received about $3.4 billion in federal farm support
from 1995 to 2005, according to the Environmental Working Group's
analysis of U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics.

And Even Glueboy can get behind this topic--being topical on THIS
topic allows one to embrace Christian ethics
Tulsa World July 27, 2007
The perceived inequity of farm subsidies is a spiritual issue for
people like Jaynes. "The way commodity and subsidy payments are set up
now, from a Christian perspective, it seems to be flipped from what
Christ intended," the Tulsa minister said. "He said that the poor will
receive the kingdom of God. It seems to me that the current farm bill
helps the rich and the the poor folks are a lower priority."
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