Californians love our farmers. Even in the densest urban centers people line up every weekend year round for their local farmers markets. From farm-fresh vegetables to fruits, cheese, wine, and more California is a food-lover’s paradise.
Unfortunately, this love affair has not penetrated our system of governance.
American taxpayers spend over $20 billion a year on farm subsidies – mostly for corn and wheat, mostly paid for by California, New York, and the other urban states, and mostly grown in places like Kentucky. Here’s the breakdown:
What you don’t see on that list are the main crops that Californian farms produce. Our top crops are grapes, almonds, strawberries, oranges and walnuts. California produces almost all of the country’s almonds, apricots, dates, figs, kiwi fruit, nectarines, olives, pistachios, prunes, and walnuts. We also lead in the production of avocados, grapes, lemons,melons, peaches, plums, and strawberries – and all of America’s artichokes. In fact the only item on the list that is a significant product for California is Dairy – which receives 3.7% of funding.
If that seems counter-intuitive, you’re right to scratch your head and wonder what our lawmakers are thinking. After all, California is the biggest agricultural state in the Union and produces food that all of America – and a large portion of the rest of the world – eats. Our crop exports are one of the key bright spots in America’s dismal import/export ratio (along with our technology and media). You’d think Congress would react by supporting and shoring up our farms! Instead, Californians are forced to subsidize midwestern Corn.
Continue reading “Dethroning King Corn”