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  • Farm Bill Fails to Cultivate Reform

    Congress had its first chance in six years to reform the economically incoherent farm program. Rather than fix the program, lawmakers irrationally increased subsidies.

    Below are price increases for the most heavily subsidized crops, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service. These five crops are responsible for approximately 90% of all farm subsidies.

    Market Prices of the Five Most-Subsidized Crops

    Crop Unit Price During 2002 Farm Bill Debate Price During 2008 Farm Bill Debate Price Increase 2008 Farm Bill Response*
    Rice ($/cwt) $3.88 $14.80 281% Level, no significant cuts
    All Wheat ($/bu) $2.84 $10.10 256% Increase subsidies
    Corn ($/bu) $1.91 $5.13 169% Level, no significant cuts
    Soybeans ($/bu) $4.47 $11.80 164% Increase subsidies
    Upland Cotton ($/lb) $0.29 $0.60 105% Level, no significant cuts

    Given these alarming numbers, we’ve come up with eight reasons why the bill warrants a veto without reform:


    1. Stop subsidizing millionaires. The majority of farm subsidies would continue going to commercial farmers, who report an average income of $200,000 and net worth of nearly $2 million.
    2. Close payment limit loopholes. Current proposals eliminate payment limits for the marketing loan program altogether, thus allowing farmers to potentially collect millions in annual subsidies.
    3. Reject spending increases. Gimmicks in the conference report would vastly underestimate the true cost of the bill.
    4. Eliminate increases in subsidy rates. Both versions of the bill raise subsidy rates despite record crop prices.
    5. Close loopholes that increase subsidies even further. The marketing loan program compensates farmers for low crop prices. However, farmers are not compensated for the price at which they sell their crops; rather they can choose the lowest market price on any day of the year.
    6. Reduce direct payments. This $5 billion program pays farmers no matter how high crop prices rise.
    7. Avoid a new, permanent disaster aid program. Congress wants to create a $5 billion permanent farm disaster aid program. Farmers already receive approximately $20 billion in annual commodity and conservation subsidies, plus $3 billion in crop insurance subsidies.
    8. Modernize farm policy for the 21st century. The greatest challenge for farmers today is not persistent poverty, but rather year-to-year income fluctuations brought on by weather- and pest-induced crop unpredictability. The current farm bill represents a clear refusal to modernize as times change.
    Posted in Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to Farm Bill Fails to Cultivate Reform

    1. Pingback: Then vs. Now - Right Mind

    2. Pingback: Saxby caught in a lie | Peach Pundit

    3. susan , ky says:

      I and my husband are second generation farmers, with a son who wants to be the third, we have always told him that farming is a hard non rewarding life financially, but like many of us he feels it is his heritage. it is not the eindustrial farmers that take advantage of the subsidies,but the wealthy who buy property as an investment with no intention of ever farming the land. if you want to help this program devise a program that would only pay to people who utilize the acreage. there are wealthy here that never farm the acreage but are at the ascs office more than we are, this is what is unjust. they not only take from tax payers but they take my sons chances away of doing what he would think of as a previlage. this system has so much corruption in it good luck and gods speed trying to straighten it out

    4. susan , ky says:

      it upsets me when i hear john stossel talk about farmers like he knows what we do. i and my husband both have worked semi professional jobs 40 hours a week for 25 years to support our farming business. tobacco was $1.50/lb. in 1960,today it averages $1.64/lb.,corn has never been over $4.to $5./bushel. my point is that while farmers today are making no more than farmers did in the 1950's and 1960's, inflation has caused every aspect of farm production to go up. like many farmers we are getting tired of working 80 hrs./week,so people like john stossel can work maybe 40 and still be able to afford a steak less than $150.00. we are getting fed up with people thinking they know more about our business than we do

    5. Pingback: Deal and the farm bill — Peach Pundit

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