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Democratic Barack Obama has backed ethanol subsidies and existing farm programs, but recently the presidential candidate “appeared to link farming with some of the nation’s leading health problems, including obesity and heart disease,” according to the Des Moines Register’s Philip Brasher . Obama told Time magazine that agriculture is “partly responsible for the explosion in our health care costs because they’re contributing to type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease, obesity, all the things that are driving our huge explosion in health care costs.” Obama said farming was contributing more greenhouse gases than transportion. The Obama campaign later said the candidate was paraphrasing a recent article by Michael Pollan in the New York Times Magazine (cover above).
A spokesman for the Corn Growers Association said Obama’s remarks are “in conflict with what’s he’s been saying about agriculture, no question about it.” Brasher notes that in the U.S. transportation creates more greenhouse gases than farming (although the opposite is true in the rest of the world).
“Subsidies for corn have reduced its cost as a food ingredient and as livestock feed,” Brasher wrote. “But a study to be published soon in the journal Food Policy found no evidence that corn subsidies have affected the consumption of corn sweeteners.”