Eaters and Farmers Be Damned
January 17, 2014 • 11:36AM

Congress might succeed, or they might not, in passing a new five-year farm law by the end of January, to replace the 2008 law, which expired in September and has been extended. Either way, the once-secure and -growing U.S. agriculture sector is now in sharp decline; and millions of Americans are desperate for their next meal.

The skirmishing over farm law — which agriculture needs for predictability — just illustrates the point made repeatedly by Lyndon LaRouche. Namely, that what is unfolding is a deliberate de-population process, in terms of the takedown of food production, health care, and all other essential means to a future.

"The food policy of the Obama Administration is a deliberate mass murderous attack on the population of the nation as a whole," LaRouche stressed on Dec. 27, in the last LaRouchePAC Friday Webcast of 2013.

Two clashes stand out in the process of negotiations by Congressional principals working on reconciling separate farm bills passed in 2013 by the Senate and House for a new 5-year farm law: what to do about the one-in-seven Americans dependent on food aid; and what to do about the fact that U.S. milk producers are being financially whipsawed out of operation.

As of Thursday, deals on both have been struck, according to Capitol Hill media; the final vote could be taken when Congress returns.

* Food Stamps — The deal is to cut the $80 billion-a-year food stamp program down by $9 billion over 10 years. This is a compromise between the venal faction, centered among Republicans, which has demanded drastic cuts of $40 billion over 10 years; versus the relatively less venal faction on the Democratic side, wanting to cut "merely" $4 billion over 10 years.

* Dairy policy — The deal is to approve a mechanism for minimal support to milk farmers, when the price they receive on the "free (rigged) market" for their milk output falls significantly below their costs of producing that milk — as it has been doing repeatedly in recent years. Thousands of prime milk cows in California, for example, have gone to slaughter. U.S. national milk output fell from 196,245 million pounds in 2011, to 193,511 million lbs in 2012 (the 2013 estimate by the U.S. Agriculture Department comes out next week). The national cattle herd (dairy, plus beef, of all ages) is at its lowest level since 1952.

Intervention to support the milk sector has been opposed by a venal and ignorant alignment of both Republicans and Democrats. The demented GOPers say government must not get involved in the food supply. The demented Dems say that putting Fed resources into supporting farmers takes away from resources that should go to poor kids needing food!

The co-author of the new, compromise dairy deal, Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minnesota), ag leader in the House, who supports restoration of the Glass-Steagll law, has been collaborating with Frank Lucas (R-Oklahoma), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, to override the morass on the Hill, and come up with something that can be passed. Peterson spoke last night with Speaker of the House John Boehner, who has previously denounced Peterson's dairy-farm support proposals, as "Soviet Union"-style agriculture. But today, Peterson told the press, he thinks something passable can be agreed upon.

The reason that milk comes to the forefront as the apparent leading "issue" of farm policy contention in the current economic breakdown crisis, is that it is perhaps the most capital-intensive and skills-intensive of all foods to produce. And the milk-supply capacity of the U.S. is in jeopardy. It takes about 20 years to build up a high-producing cow herd. You can't turn an udder "on and off" relative to bogus "market signals" of supply and demand. You have to feed and care for the animals, no matter what — until you can't do it anymore.