Spreading the wealth around
- Both parties eagerly join the fun of using your tax money to buy the votes of special interest groups back home.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it spent $55 million in fiscal 2012 to support 748 “specialty crops” across the country – benefiting everything from fruit and nuts in California to an “interactive wine trail” in Massachusetts to the promotion of Michigan-grown Christmas trees and poinsettias.
CNS News reports The $55-million in block grants was distributed to the agriculture departments in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. Thirty percent of the grants went for “marketing and promotion” of specialty crops, which are defined as “fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture).”
Here’s a sample of what taxpayers funded:
- The Alabama Watermelon Association, Inc. used its money to “promote the consumption of Alabama’s watermelon through appearances of the Alabama Watermelon Queen at various events and locations.”
- New Mexico received money to create “new target markets” for the New Mexico green chile, including the creation of a DVD offering green chile recipes;
- The Massachusetts Farm Winery Growers Association spent its share of the money on an “interactive wine trail” compatible with iPhones, Android and Blackberry smartphones, as well as “promotional materials” available for download.
- The Michigan Christmas Tree Association received funding “to increase awareness and sales of Michigan-grown Christmas trees and poinsettias by conducting an extensive media campaign,” including “high visibility events” and TV ads.
- The Sonoma County Winegrape Commission—a marketing association representing more than 1,800 growers in Sonoma and Marin counties—used its grant money to “implement a marketing campaign that will provide a unique chance to promote highly valued winegrapes from this area and build brand value for Sonoma County wines.”
- The Big Island Beekeepers Association in Hawaii is using its grant money “to promote Hawaiian natural honey through a marketing campaign.”
- The Garden Club of New Jersey received funding “to increase awareness and appreciation of organic gardening…”