In 2005, US agribusiness spent $95,469,961 to
influence Congress on everything from halting global warming legislation to
pushing crop disaster relief caused by global warming.
The big ag players spent big bucks. According to data collected under
federal reporting laws and analyzed by the Center for Responsive Politics
, the American Farm Bureau
Federation spent $7.9 million lobbying Capitol Hill and federal agencies; the
National Farmers Union spent $1 million.
Other commodity groups, spent
varying sums: the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, $420,370; the National
Pork Producers Council, $404,125; the National Corn Growers
, $550,000; the American Soybean
Association, $370,000; the National Association of Wheat Growers,
Agbiz was in there pitching, too: Dean Foods, $1.6 million; Dairy Farmers
of America, $620,000; Tyson
, $1.08 million; Monsanto Co
., $3.04 million; Smithfield Foods, $880,000; Crop
Life of America, $1.9 million; Syngenta, $960,000.
"Plain and simple," says Tom Buis, President of the National Farmers Union
, and former
lobbyist, "over the last five or six years there's been more check book
influence on Capitol Hill than people influence. Lobbying reform is long
Now, however, this money-fueled merry-go-round promises to slow as both the
US House and Senate recently passed versions of lobbying reform. Independent
lobbying watchers agree; hard facts and sincere faces will become more
influential in legislation.
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