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Food costs - Chem Ag Subsidies vs Organic Penalties  RSS feed

 
Jeff Reiland
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Location: Central Iowa
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I've heard it said before and watched a few episodes of the Search for Sustainability where Paul says that if we got rid of the conventional ag subsidies and the organic penalties, chem ag food would cost 4x as much.
I believe that's true but can anyone provide citations for that data so I can confirm and in case anyone calls me out if I repeat those stats.
Thanks so much in advance!
 
John Wolfram
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Location: Lafayette, Indiana
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In general, those number seem very high. For example, in the United States Americans spend about $50 billion a month in grocery stores. Based on this article "by 2014, the U.S. was on target to spend $972.9 billion on food and farm programs over the next decade." That works out to $8 billion a month on food and farm subsidies with food stamps accounting for $6.5 billion of that monthly total. While the $1.5 billion in monthly non-food stamp subsidy money certainly does have some impact on the $50 billion in total grocery store sales, I doubt removing it would suddenly cause conventional food to be four times more expensive.

That being said, I'm sure there is some specific example of some product out there where the conventional version would be four times the cost of organic without the subsidies. Paul is probably referring to that example, and whether or not that one specific example applies to the totality of U.S. food production is debatable.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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USDA food markets This is probably what you are wanting.
 
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