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Where Federal Food Research Funds Really Go

In this Sept. 13, 2016 photo, farmer Sam McCullough uses his combine to harvest quinoa near Sequim, Wash. (Ted S. Warren/AP)
In this Sept. 13, 2016 photo, farmer Sam McCullough uses his combine to harvest quinoa near Sequim, Wash. (Ted S. Warren/AP)

With guest host Jane Clayson.

Washington spends millions on agriculture research. But most of that spending doesn’t go toward fruits, vegetables, what we actually eat. We’ll peel back why. Plus: new safety concerns about Monsanto’s weed killer.

We’re supposed to be eating good food. Lots of fruits and vegetables. But the federal government isn’t spending the Ag dollars to make them more accessible and affordable. Billions are going to corn and soy subsidies for livestock and ethanol for our cars. But what about more spinach? Harvesting more efficiently. This hour On Point, Ag dollars and your shopping cart. Plus: new safety concerns about Monsanto’s weed killer.


Helena Bottemiller Evich, senior food and agriculture reporter at POLITICO. @hbottemiller)

Jay Hill, owner and operator of Hill Farms and Wholesale Family Farms in Mesilla, NM.

Stephanie Mercier, director of policy at the Farm Journal Foundation. Former chief economist of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee.

Jeremy Bernfeld, editor of Harvest Public Media. (@JeremyHPM)

From The Reading List

POLITICO: The vegetable technology gap — “Agricultural research is fundamental to improving how we raise, grow, harvest, process and ship everything that we eat. It took millions of dollars of public and private research and years of experimenting with limp leafy greens before breathable salad packaging came onto the scene. Consumers no longer have to wash sand and dirt off their greens, remove tough stems and ribs or chop them into bite-sized portions. The same types of technologies have also helped bring us baby carrot packs with dips, sliced apples in McDonald’s Happy Meals and ready-to-eat kale salad kits.”

Las Cruces Sun-News: Jay Hill brings Mesilla Valley AG into focus — “The United States Farmers and Ranchers Alliance selected Hill as one of four Faces of Farming and Ranching, a role which took him from Baltimore to San Francisco and locations in between. His mission was to educate groups, including national leaders in Washington, D.C., about the vital role of agriculture and the challenges faced by the ever-changing industry.”

Choices: Looking Ahead To The Next Farm Bill— “Roughly half of the nation’s farms are predominantly livestock operations, and about 9% specialize in vegetables, fruit, or nursery crop operations. As of the latest USDA estimates for total agricultural receipts from August 2016, livestock and dairy account for roughly the same share of total agricultural receipts as number of farming operations at 48%, while specialty crop production is expected to generate 27% of total receipts, or about three times their share of producers.”

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