The debate over the farm bill is on Sunday, and why it matters to you. California’s cotton, rice and dairy farms receive federal aid, but the bulk of California farm revenue comes from specialty crops — fruits, nuts and vegetables — and the farmers raising those products don’t receive any direct subsidies.
In the first hour Peter talks with Michelle Perez, a senior analyst for the Environmental Working Group. Perez conducts research, writes, and informs policymakers on farm subsidy and conservation issues. The EWG is a nonprofit environmental research organization working to use the power of information to protect the environment and public health. Perez presents a strong indictment of federal farm subsidy legislation, insisting that it is a sop to big agri-business.
Later in the show Paul Muller joins the conversation. A California specialty crop farmer who doesn’t receive any subsidies, Muller is one of the owners of Full Belly Farm in the Capay Valley. With about 30 employees, the farm produces vegetables, herbs, nuts, flowers, and fruits year-round. The farm also has a flock of chickens, a herd of sheep, and several cows. Muller explains how he and his farm thrive without government subsidies.
The audience participates via telephone.