The Farm Bill has been widely criticized for its role in altering market incentives through subsidization of crops like wheat, corn and soy. Experts have said that this increases dependency on such products — including the highly processed foods that are made from such ingredients — and leads to mass production that may cause harm to both human health and the environment.
In light of the bill being scheduled for renewal next year, an expert panel led by Washington State University soil scientist John Reganold is calling for a reform in the country’s agricultural practices and a shift toward more sustainable farming methods.
“We need to move more quickly,” says Reganold. “Why are we supporting big, mainstream agriculture that’s not necessarily protecting or benefiting the environment? Why don’t we support innovative farming systems of all sizes that produce food sustainably?”
The expert said that many researchers are currently developing ways to apply the principles of nature to farming practices. This is done in an effort to gain more crop variety and abundance while lowering the cost of produce for Americans. Such farming would help local economies since farmers would be put back to work. Additionally, it would satisfy the needs of consumers who are becoming increasingly concerned with buying from sustainable food sources.
Reganold’s paper was published in the journal Science.