“You can have Republicans and Democrats absolutely in lockstep agreement on certain issues in the farm bill, and it has nothing to do with parties. These issues tend to be commodity-driven,” gushed USDA chief Mike Johanns.

Uh-oh. Looks like a good old-fashioned “bipartisan consensus” has formed: time to use the 2007 Farm Bill as a tool for maximizing ethanol production — which evidently doesn’t already draw enough government support.

Talk in the above-linked piece centers on cellulosic ethanol and its most celebrated feedstock, switchgrass, which can potentially be grown with few inputs on marginal land. But like joy in Keats’ “Ode on Melancholy,” cellulosic ethanol remains perpetually elusive.

What the lawmakers’ enthusiasm really augurs is a whole shitload of corn.

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I don’t have time to analyze this much now, or to comment on the Economist’s much-hyped critique of non-industrial food.

But I will soon.

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