The future of farm policy in the United States will be influenced by trends in economic and political globalization, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), due to the obligation of member nation-states to make domestic policies conform to international trade agreements. Commentators have noted that the WTO has been structured to favor transnational agribusiness at the expense of small farmers, food consumers, and the natural environment. However, the WTO contains contradictions that might be exploited by alternative agriculture advocates to influence Congressional interpretations of the trade agreement. This essay uses reflexive modernization theory to highlight efforts by alternative agriculture groups in the U.S. to lay bare the contradictions and advocate for agribusiness accountability, environmental protection, and food sovereignty. We seek to answer whether WTO negotiations and potential farm subsidy restrictions might provide an opportunity for reforming the U.S. farm bill.

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