The Omnivore’s Dilemma

by

Michael Pollan

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The Secretary of Agriculture under Richard Nixon, Earl Butz abolished the New Deal system that had kept corn’s quantity and price relatively stable through loans and buyback deals with farmers. Butz engineered a huge spike in the price of corn to justify making policies that favored large farms and high yields instead of small farms. Instead of keeping the price stable, the system changed so that the price could fluctuate, and the government would pay farmers directly. This allowed the price to fall as yield increased, which has trapped farmers like Naylor in the cycle of constantly falling prices and growing yields.
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Earl Butz Character Timeline in The Omnivore’s Dilemma

The timeline below shows where the character Earl Butz appears in The Omnivore’s Dilemma. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 6: The Consumer: A Republic of Fat
Interconnectedness Theme Icon
...dates the upswing in corn consumption to the 1970s, when President Nixon’s Secretary of Agriculture, Earl Butz , instituted a policy of driving up agricultural yields in order to drive down the... (full context)