Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Farm Bill Rancor

Right now in the US Senate, debate on the future of our farm bill is ongoing. The farm bill sets the policies for US agriculture. Not a big deal you say? Au contraire.

Time Magazine notes the bill is in fact important to all of us, even if only 1% of residents in the US are farmers anymore (down from 50% 130 years ago and while 36% of world residents are still farmers),

But farms still cover most of our land, consume most of our water and produce most of our food. If you eat, drink or pay taxes--or care about the economy, the environment or our global reputation--U.S. agricultural policy is a big deal.

Time writes that as always, bringing reform to the farm bill has been tough, but it's worth fighting for. The biggest issue is subsidies for our large cash crops, especially cotton and corn. So, I would encourage you to read this excellent article, and depending on your perspective, let your congressman know your thoughts. Speaking of which, do you have any?


Robby said...

My opinion overall is that it keeps bad farms in business, makes good farmers wealthy, destroys other countries entire agriculture business, keeps food prices artificially high, etc... I can't really think of any positives.

Chairman said...

I think that you have to have assurances that we can provide enough food to support our nation. Some things you have to maintain governmental support for, like advanced military technology, production of raw materials, and food supply.

However, after that (which is a relatively small amount, considering the incentive that the market offers for companies to stay in business, regardless of subsidies), artificial supports like this are, like Robby suggests, just largely inefficient and don't contribute to much good for the whole.

Westy said...

My solution:
$100,000 cap on subsidies.
And they only go to people who gain more than 50% of their income from farming only one farm.