Target: Mike Young, acting-Secretary, United States Department of Agriculture
Goal: Shift government support from corn and soy to healthy crops.
American taxpayers directly fund junk food through billions of dollars in annual government subsidies to growers of corn and soy. These crops provide the foundation for processed, high calorie foods which have fueled the emerging obesity epidemic in the United States.
Distribution of farm subsidies overwhelmingly favors corn and soy over fruits and vegetables. Since 1995, the federal government has provided over $19 billion to corn and soy growers, with $8 billion directly supporting production of high fructose corn syrup. In contrast, apples were the only “healthy” crop to receive a significant subsidy at $689 million. The impact of this imbalance is reflected in the amount of land cultivated for each crop, as corn and soy are grown on 200 out of 300 million total acres, with just 14 million acres for produce.
Heavily subsidized corn and soy based products are demonstrably less expensive than their unprocessed counterparts. A Harvard study found that on average it would cost $1.50 more person per day to consume a healthy diet than one based around unhealthy processed foods. This would mean an increased cost of $2000 per year for a family of four. Food cost is a primary contributor to the growing obesity epidemic, which currently includes over 35 percent of adults in the United States. Those at lower income levels are 145 percent more likely to become overweight or obese in comparison with wealthy individuals.
Obesity related illnesses are the leading cause of death and account for almost 70 percent of total healthcare spending at $150 billion annually in the United States. A transition of farm subsidies to fruits and vegetables could bring immediate dividends in significantly expanding access to healthy foods. Please sign the below petition calling on the Department of Agriculture to revisit its subsidy distribution plan.
Dear Mr. Young,
The federal government directly contributes to the growing obesity epidemic through $19 billion in annual subsidies supporting corn and soy cultivation. A significant percentage of these crops serve as the foundation for heavily processed foods available to consumers at prices significantly lower than fruits and vegetables, most of which do not receive a federal subsidy.
Over 35 percent of American adults are obese and obesity related illnesses account for $150 billion in annual healthcare expenses. Please consider shifting federal farm subsidies to crops yielding healthy, nutrient-rich foods.
[Your Name Here]
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