James Comer says some but not all federal farm subsidies should be reformed

09/01/2011 06:35 AM

James Comer, the Republican candidate for Agriculture Commissioner, said federal farm subsidies should be reformed — including a couple he has received for his farms.

“We can reduce farm subsidies and eliminate them all together and hopefully phase them out,” he said. (That part of the discussion begins at 3:05 of the video)

But he later said not all of the subsidy programs should be eliminated.

Comer’s farms in Monroe County and northern Tennessee have received $86,766 in federal subsidies between 1995 and 2010. That includes money for conservation, disaster and commodity subsidies, according to online records of the Environmental Working Group.

Find out which subsidies Comer said should continue and which ones should be eliminated starting at (4:40).

Comer also talked about his “urban agriculture” plan to encourage planting of community gardens in vacant lots or government property in neighborhoods in Louisville and Lexington, for instance. (Starting at 0:45 in the video)

“We’re going to come in and use the resources and the manpower of the Department of Agriculture to turn these vacant lots into community gardens to help poor, low-income people be able to grow their own food,” he said. “This provides healthy food and cheap food.”

But Comer said he is not in favor of government subsidizing freshly-grown food and taxing unhealthy junk food in order to encourage healthier eating habits. (2:05 of the video)

Comer faces Democratic candidate Bob Farmer in the fall agriculture commissioner race. Farmer will be on Pure Politics next week.

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