While the political eyes have been on Iowa for the last couple of weeks leading up to last night's GOP caucus (congratulations to Mitt Romney, who just edged out Rick Santorum), the upcoming Farm Bill hasn't had all that much attention.
Iowa has significant political influence since the Hawkeye State holds the first caucus. Unfortunately, this has resulted in a food policy that helps large farm corporations (ironically at the expense of the small Iowa farmer). The oddity of having a farm bill come up in an election year is not the smartest way to run food policy.
We are definitely looking at cuts in farm programs; the question is how much and will it affect those who need subsidies the least.
The farm bill is one of many politically related food stories to watch for in 2012.
Another growing question is whether First Lady Michelle Obama has slowed down her efforts to get us to eat better. The topic is hot in the blogosphere.
Mrs. Obama has been more focused on exercise, which is extremely admirable. Having a complete picture of what kids (and adults) should do is a wonderful cause by the First Lady.
Now I don't always stand up for the blogosphere, but in this case, I understand their concern.
Pushing exercise is a lot easier than expressing concern about the food supply, and a lot less politically damaging. The First Lady and her husband, President Barack Obama, have received significant criticism for what they eat, despite the fact that they are in better shape than most of the country, and their detractors are primarily severely out of shape (e.g., Rush Limbaugh, James Sensenbrenner).
Mrs. Obama, if your goal is to broaden the perspective of what we need to do, go for it. If you have been bullied into not talking about food choices because of political and pundit pressure, then you need to fight back for those who don't have the power to make a difference.
Finally, the fact that we are in an election year means food fights (no, not the Animal House kind) among Democratic and Republican politicians as they try to gain points heading into November. It will be a long year (with an extra day) — pace yourself accordingly.