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Georgia PIRG Education Fund
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Georgia Public Broadcasting News
By
Jeanne Bonner

ATLANTA  —   The U.S. spent $260 billion on agriculture subsidies from 1995 to 2010.During the same period, taxpayers only spent $260 million on subsidies for fruits and vegetables. Georgia's produce farmers, for example, receive virtually no federal subsidies.

A new report says federal subsidies pay farmers to grow crops used in junk food that’s linked to high child obesity rates. The U.S. spent $6 billion on these subsidies last year.

Jessica Wilson is with the Georgia Public Interest Research Group. She says through the report, the organization is urging Congress to cut corn syrup, corn starch and soy oil subsidies when it reauthorizes the farm bill next year.

“The fact that we’re spending this much money subsidizing junk food demonstrates the need to reform our subsidies program and cut the wasteful spending,” she said.

Georgia received $142 million in farm subsidies last year, according to the Environmental Working Group. Only a small part goes to crops that produce items targeted in the report. The state’s cotton and peanut industries received the lion’s share of the subsidies. 

Farmers say they need some of the other subsidies because they cover crop loss, damage from natural disasters and other emergencies.

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