Long the bane of environmentalists and sustainable-agriculture proponents, the U.S. agriculture-subsidy system has drawn some unlikely new critics: top Bush administration officials. Speaking before a food-industry trade group last week, USDA chief Mike Johanns, the reliably pro-Big Ag former governer of subsidy-rich Nebraska, complained that in fiscal year 2005: 92 percent of commodity program spending was paid on five crops -- corn, wheat, soybeans, cotton and rice. The farmers who raise other crops -- two thirds of all farmers -- received little support from current farm programs. Later, he deplored what he called "trade-distorting subsidies. " And Monday, U.S. Trade …
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Tom Philpott was previously Grist's food writer. He now writes for Mother Jones.
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