Political Implications

The Political Influence of the Industrialized Agriculture Lobby In the United States

To the previous article To the next article

The Industrial Agricultural Lobby: Lobbying Numbers that are staggering.

The Agricultural Lobby is made up of hundreds of varying groups. It consists of Farmers Associations, State Farm Bureaus and Civic Associations. Yet, it takes a significant back seat to the Industrial Agricultural Lobby. The Industrial Agricultural Lobby consists of the major players in the agricultural industry. Like a huge mutli-color umbrella it encompasses and represents the diversity of industrial components, which make up industrial agriculture today. Chemical companies, Biotech companies, and actual farming/production companies all form similar interests when it comes to increasing the profit margin and growth for the agriculture industry.

In the 1997-1998 election cycle the Industrial Agricultural Lobby spent a collective 5,886,530 dollars on campaign contributions. 1998 saw the lobbying expenditures increase to 18,198,500 dollars from 15,012,887 in 1997 (see link http://www.opensecrets.org/pubs/lobby98/topind.html [important: statistics are used, but interpretation is independent of source]). Of this money 34% went to the Democratic Party and 65% to the Republicans. These huge lobbying amounts were boosted through the massive spending by the big players in the industrialized agriculture business. Philip Morris, the largest agricultural corporation in the United States and the second largest in the world, makes 10 cents on every dollar spent on food in the US. In this last year Philip Morris alone spent 8 million in lobbying fees and 2.4 million in soft money towards political campaigns. Dupont, one of the top three chemical corporations in the world and holder of a large share of the herbicide market, spent 960,000 dollars in lobbying fees and 150,000 in political contributions. Monsanto, a leading developer and producer of genetically modified crop plants, as well as one of the leading producers of insecticides and fertilizers, tried to influence politicians with 2.5 million in lobbying fees and 130,000 dollars for political campaigns. Finally, ConAgra, a large agricultural producer, spends relatively less than the other big players with 210,000 dollars toward lobbying fees and 240,000 dollars toward political campaigns (Ridgeway, St. Clair, 1998). While this money factors in an absolute chance for the effect of political opinion on issues concerning industrialized agriculture to be beneficial to the lobby, the real relative effect may be harder to grasp, or is it?

ConclusionsNext page in the subjectPrevious page in the subjectEutrophication and hypoxiaAgricultural biotechnologyJoin the discussionReferences and readingsBack to homepageConclusions