Jonathan J. Halperin
Jonathan J. Halperin
Designing Research, Communications
and Strategies for Sustainability

Farm Bill and Foreign Aid

Discussions of US foreign aid are often divorced from discussions of the US Farm Bill. At the Aspen Ideas Festival today I asked Tom Daschle, Dan Glickman, Lauren Bush and Beth Sauerhaft to connect the two.

US foreign economic assistance totals roughly $40 billion annually (less than 1% of the federal budget), while the US Farm Bill currently under debate on Capitol Hill amounts to over $300 billion (of which about two-thirds goes toward nutrition assistance). How we price farm products domestically, the scale of crop subsidies, export supports and a host of other domestic policies embedded in the Farm Bill have an enormous impact of global prices, farming, and global nutrition.

With a stunningly complex web of domestic and global stakeholders, the Farm Bill is an essential component of US international aid policy -- although it often undermines market principles that we cite as essential in supporting agricultural market development elsewhere. As often happens for a host of reasons, we have traditionally divorced domestic farm policy from international agricultural policy. The time has come to fix that mistake.

 



Discussing the domestic and international implications of the US Farm Bill with Dan Glickman, former Secretary of Agriculture and nine-term member of the US House of Representatives

 

Jonathan J. Halperin and Dan Glickman

 

When I began to unhook from SustainAbility in 2008, after 20+ years, to co-found Volans, Jonathan was working with the US end of SustainAbility — and sent the London end of the Volans team a large cardboard box of multi-colored felt rocks, which initially I couldn't make head nor tail of. I thought he was mad, or overly American.

But I have to say that, over time, those felt rocks have become a central feature of the Volans culture, thrown by team members at other team members (or guests) on the slightest provocation. That aside, he's a consummate professional, creative collaborator, skilled communicator, and keen intellect—and I am delighted both to have had Jonathan as a colleague and to now count him as a friend.

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