The following journal articles by SIS faculty derived directly from research and collaboration with the National Family Farm Coalition and the Rural Coalition in the course of the ongoing project of Farmers, Fairness & the Farm Bill.
From supply management to agricultural subsidies—and back again? The U.S. Farm Bill & agrarian (in)viability
Garrett Graddy-Lovelace and Adam Diamond | Journal of Rural Studies, Vol. 50, Feb. 2017
Abstract: Farm subsidies have become increasingly maligned in agricultural policy debates, but the merits of subsidies are a distraction from deeper political, economic, and ecological problems in agriculture. Drawing on a history of the U.S. Farm Bill, this paper argues that a fixation on farm subsidies ignores why they came into being, and more generally glosses over the imperative for modern states to intervene into agricultural economies. Karl Polanyi's 'double movement' framework is used to situate the rise and fall of agricultural supply management within food regime theory. In the second, or surplus food regime, the U.S. government wielded excess commodities as geopolitical tools—even as domestic farm policy labored to contain overproduction, and thus support agrarian viability. In the subsequent corporate food regime, “free market” agriculture displaces and discredits supply management, even as massive government intervention into how food is grown and sold continues. Making space to remember historical price support programs, to situate their accomplishments and limitations, and to recognize residual supply-management mechanisms (such as farm cooperatives and agricultural marketing orders) is crucial for fostering agricultural viability in the US and beyond. Twentieth century supply management had flaws, but it cannot be wholly omitted. This paper highlights key motivations, elements, and contradictions of these policies and programs to begin the process of considering how supply management principles and strategies could be updated and enhanced for 21st century agriculture. Such a framework would need to pay more attention to diversity within domestic and international agricultures, and be more sensitive to the multi-scalar dimensions of food systems.
The coloniality of US agricultural policy: articulating agrarian (in)justice
Garrett Graddy-Lovelace | The Journal of Peasant Studies, Vol. 44, No. 1, Jan. 2017 (online Aug. 2016)
Abstract: Drawing on participatory action research with La Via Campesina’s US member groups, this paper traces the coloniality of US agricultural policy – and the uses of this analytic lens. The framework of coloniality conjures history, contextualizing US Department of Agriculture (USDA) racism within long legacies of subjugation, while paying homage to historical resistance. It raises the stakes regarding the neo-imperialism of agribusiness monopolies, while highlighting divide-and-conquer strategies and the colonialist mentalities that linger on despite reform. Assertions of coloniality, however, risk nostalgia for 18th century pastorals, or may jeopardize hard-fought-for relationships of trust with USDA personnel. Deployment demands self-reflexivity, on the part of academia, which like the USDA is neo-colonial, yet not monolithic. Most importantly however, the discursive impact of coloniality builds upon existing, grassroots articulations of the need to decolonize agricultural policy. Calling out the coloniality of US agricultural policy echoes global revalorizations of peasant agriculture, while overcoming the constraints of the term ‘peasant’ in US-English-speaking contexts. Accordingly, it could facilitate dialogue among grassroots agrarian alliances within the US and, internationally, with international advocacy for peasants’ rights.