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IA Expert: U.S. Farm Policy Promotes Unhealthy Diet

September 7, 2007

Des Moines, IA – Americans aren't eating their fruits and vegetables, and the new U.S. Farm Bill could help fix that, according to an Iowa expert. Susan Roberts, with the Drake University Agricultural Law Center, says the U.S. Department of Agriculture puts out balanced diet recommendations, but contradicts those recommendations with farm subsidies for the wrong kinds of foods.

"We'd have to double our acreage in fruit, we don't produce enough dairy, and we produce way too much sugar and fat compared to what we recommend."

Roberts believes the new U.S. Farm Bill should encourage farmers to raise more fruits and vegetables and fewer row crops.

"Maybe it's as simple as promoting farmers' markets. We need to give farmers incentives to convert one or two acres of their land to growing fruits and vegetables."

She says our current farm policy results in an overabundance of cheap foods that aren't good for us, and not enough healthy foods, which have become more expensive.

Dick Layman/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - IA