midnight musings: extra food

Did you know that the US government pays farmers to not grow food? Or to plow it under? And if for some reason a crop is not worth much at harvest time many farmers will leave it in the field to rot and then plow it over? Does any of this sound ludicrous to you? I know that farming is an unforgiving and hard profession—my grandfather is a farmer—eking out a living is very hard. To keep prices up the government pays some farmers not to grow or harvest certain crops thereby keeping the supply inline with demand and keeping the price high enough to support the farmers.

These farm subsidies and supply control measures ensure that the farmers can make a living and that there will be people to do the hard work and provide food for the rest of us here in the US. But when we consider the whole world, I can find no way to justify letting food rot in the ground or not planting all the land that is available. (Except as crop rotation and fallow ground techniques demand to keep the ground fertile) The famines in Asia and Africa, the refugees who have fled their homes and therefore their food sources, they need food and we let it rot in the field. Rather than pay farmers not to plant or to leave food to rot, this food should be taken by the government and donated to UN or other relief agencies. The government could continue to restrict the supply and pay farmers, thereby keeping them from bankruptcy but take the food and put it to use. Rather than farmers leaving their crops in the field to rot because it cost more to harvest than it is worth, the government should step in and say, “we will pay for you to harvest he food and then take it and give it to people who need it.” This food could save many lives around the world.