CFP, AAG 2015 – Chicago
Critical Geographies of US Farm Bill Policy & Politics
The United States ‘Farm Bill’ gets re-debated, re-written, and re-authorized by Congress every 5-8 years. This omnibus legislation authorizes nearly US$100 billion of annual spending on a vast range of federal supports and services, including nutrition assistance, commodity payments, specialty crop supports, agricultural extension, soil conservation, grain reserves (or their dismantling), agricultural research, crop insurance, local food marketing, food aid, biofuels, and agricultural trade (including WTO compliance—or lack thereof) among many other topics. This massive piece of legislation directly impacts growers, eaters, communities and landscapes throughout the US, and indirectly impacts agro-food landscapes and systems globally as the hegemon’s shadow is impossible to avoid, whether it be in the form of subsidized grain exports, foreign agricultural assistance, or policy mimicry. While primarily occupying the attention of narrow sectional interests for many generations, the Farm Bill is finally beginning to generate broader public interest and political engagement, engaging diverse voices in debates around the optimal role of government in fostering a food system that feeds the nation in a socially, ecologically, and economically sustainable manner.
This panel seeks to gather geographers studying the domestic and international dimensions of the US Farm Bill—both historically and contemporarily. Specifically, we wish to create a critical-geography-focused forum to explore the many socio-spatial causes, consequences and possibilities of US agricultural policy and politics—from monopolistic political economy to rural-urban political alliances, from the political ecology of dead zones to migrant labor. Both the making of US agricultural policy and its implications demand critical and collective analysis. How is it that this amalgam of policies, full of contradictions, is continually made and remade? Why is reform always seemingly “around the corner”? How do policy goals get translated and transformed in the policy making and implementation process? To begin to answer these questions we welcome empirical and theoretical submissions exploring the politics and potential of the US Farm Bill with regard to ecological and social justice. Join us.
To those interested: please send your 250-word abstract (with paper title and name and affiliation of all authors) to either organizer by October 24th.
Garrett GRADDY-LOVELACE, American University School of International Service (email@example.com)
Adam DIAMOND, American University School of International Service (firstname.lastname@example.org)
AAG Geographies of Food & Agriculture Specialty Group
AAG Cultural & Political Ecology Specialty Group
AAG Rural Geography Specialty Group