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CHICAGO, Sep. 21 – Small farmers and ordinary citizens across the country are taking a stand against wasteful agricultural subsidies in the federal Farm Bill. Though Congress was unable to pass a farm bill before the November election, reauthorizing or extending the Farm Bill should be one of Congress’s top priorities when they return.
Illinois PIRG’s nationwide campaign has collected 72,000 petitions from citizens and 532 endorsements from small farmers opposing these lavish subsidies to big agriculture. Between 1995 and 2011 taxpayers spent $277 billion on agricultural subsidies. Some of this money subsidizes corn and soy, which is then processed into junk food ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, accelerating the obesity epidemic in America.
“For too long this expensive legislation has worked against the average American’s interests. It has encouraged farms to produce products that are dangerous to our health and has concentrated wealth in the hands of a few big corporate farms,” said Hailey Witt, Illinois PIRG advocate.
“In this current economic climate the reauthorization of the farm bill should be a straightforward opportunity to end these subsidies and stop sending taxpayer dollars to profitable agribusinesses that don’t need the help,” said Witt. “As the Farm Bill heads to the floor or to an extension, we urge members of Congress to stand with the public and end these wasteful subsidies.”
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Illinois PIRG, the State Public Interest Research Group, is a non-profit, non-partisan public interest advocacy organization that takes on powerful interests on behalf of its members, working to win concrete results for our health and well-being. www.illinoispirg.org
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