Target: United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack
Goal: To bring balance to agriculture subsidies that presently encourage unhealthy dietary habits.
From 1992’s original food pyramid to the modern “MyPlate” nutritional guideline meat has always comprised less than 25% of the recommended daily food intake. This flies in stark contrast to the government’s current agricultural subsidy program which is heavily skewed in favor of meat and dairy over produce and other healthy alternatives.
Over three quarters of governmental subsidies to agriculture go to meat and dairy farming. Produce and grain are supposedly intended to comprise the bulk of our daily food intake, yet as a collective unit they receive only a fraction of the financial support given to the meat industry.
These heavily skewed subsidies result in an unhealthful situation to the consumer where it becomes far more cost-effective for a struggling family to buy a round of fatty hamburgers over healthier alternatives such as an entree salad or other balanced meal.
With the obesity epidemic on the rise in America this financial aid to the meat industry creates just one more reason not to eat healthy. Fresh produce can be quite expensive and has a very limited shelf-life whereas cheap cuts of meat such and ground beef, hot dogs, and other heavily processed meats have both price and shelf-life on their side.
Advocating healthy eating habits alone is not enough. Families that live paycheck to paycheck are compelled to purchase whatever foods will most help in stretching limited budgets.
The only solution to this is to balance agricultural subsidies such that branches of agriculture are supplemented proportionately. Produce farmers receiving an increased percentage of the government’s agricultural subsidies would serve to reduce the price of good healthful foods while discouraging an overabundance of cheap processed meat in ones dining habits.
Society as a whole wants to eat better, they simply need the means to do it. Adjusting how the government subsidizes agriculture would be a tremendous step towards giving them that means.
Dear Tom Vilsack,
Obesity is an ongoing problem in American society. Targeting homes through education and advertising can be considered a good first step, but more must be done to ensure healthy dietary habits. A family dealing with a limited income simply cannot afford to abide by the dietary guidelines recommended by the current “MyPlate” healthful eating model.
Current governmental policy places far too much emphasis on the meat and dairy industries with over 75% of all agricultural subsidies going to those two venues. This is completely disproportionate to the recommended allotments that comprise a small percentage of one’s daily food intake.
As long as it is financially beneficial to pick up a batch of cheap hamburgers for the family instead of fresh produce education about nutrition is useless. Families need an incentive to help them eat properly and it begins by making fresh produce more affordable.
This can easily be done by altering current subsidies to reflect the recommended nutritional needs of society. It would not even require additional funding, simply an alteration of current agricultural subsidies to reflect the importance of healthy foods such as fresh produce.
It is with this in mind that I strongly urge you to change the governmental subsidies on agricultural products. Balance allotments such that farmers of produce receive amounts proportional to where they stand within your department’s current “MyPlate” nutrition model.
Use this redistribution to drive down the prices of healthy foods while eliminating the financial motivation to continue purchasing unhealthful food items that will only contribute to the ongoing obesity pandemic. Help society get healthy by making it affordable to eat the very foods your department is telling us we should eat.
[Your Name Will Go Here]