It baffles me that it appears the U. S. Congress is going to pass a subsidy laddaned new farm bill at a time when agriculture in general is the midst of an era of unprecedented prosperity. I’m going to do a series of blogs this week on my observations and research on the subject. In the spirit of full disclosure I receive crop subsidies and annual payments for walnut trees I planted in the 1980s and 1990s under the Conservation Reserve Program.
The graph at the right just amazes me. The Freedom to Farm Bill of 1996 was supposed to force American farmers to compete on the world stage, dramatically cutting subsidies. As you can see from the graphic, exactly the opposite has occurred. Government crop subsidies were two and a half time times as large in 2006 as they were in 1996.
The new farm bill currently being debated in Congress is projected to cost around $300 billion over the next five years. In my opinion it is obscene and creates non-economic distortions that are changing rural America for the worse in the long term.
More of my thoughts on this subject in the next couple of days.