Imagine owning the perfect farm, perfect home, perfect pasture, and outstanding prosperous crops. What about when it floods, or there is a fire? Suddenly everything changes. You no longer have that perfect farm. You may no longer even have you home, much less a means to provide for yourself and your family. Who is supposed to protect you then and everything you had?
Agriculture is an ever changing industry, with constant changes in methods and technology. Much like the industry, programs surrounding it are also changing for the better except for one, farm subsidies. The farm subsidy program has gone almost completely unchanged since the early 1930’s. I have lived on a farm for my entire life and have gotten into many arguments with my peers, trying to prove farm subsidies were a necessity for the industry to remain functional. These arguments usually turned into a “who could scream the loudest” match and would usually end in a joking manor. I finally decided to look deeper into the subject being as I didn’t know all that much about the subject rather than the basics. After doing the research I came to the realization that both my friends and I had been partially right. There is one farm subsidy program that is needed, but the rest of the subsidy programs really are not a necessity anymore, and I am not the only farmer stating this. David McKee, a farmer in Missouri, said in an NPR interview that he “doesn’t need his direct and counter-cyclical payment” this year because of his farm grossing millions of dollars a year (NPR). All farm subsidy programs should be cut from the United States federal budget with the exception of crop insurance because farmers do not need the assistance now like they did in the 1930’s.
Sparshott, J. (2003, December 8). Agricultural subsidies targeted. The Washington Times. Retrieved October 26, 2006, from http://www.washtimes.com/business/20031207-114046-8545r.htm
Lynch, D. J. & Bjerga, A. (2013, September 9). Taxpayers turn U.S. farmers into fat cats with subsidies.
Oxfam America is a supporter of small family farm based business, according to Laura Rusu the US government spends up to 16 billion dollars a year on farm payments. Most of those funds from the US government go towards large commercial farms. Oxfam America is supporting the act called the Rural America Preservation Act, which will help smaller based farms with funding. Since there are so many loopholes in the current government system that are only helping the larger commercial based farms, this Act will help prevent these loopholes and help the smaller farms with more funding. There are many misleading ideas about the small scale farms, some of which are that small scale farms cannot support a family, that they need to grow into large scale farms to make money, and that small scale farming is usually just a hobby or for extra income. After researching the agribusiness, most of these accusations and most because small scale farms could be more successful if they were provided the support from state and federal governments like they should be.
The 2014 Farm Bill signed by Obama in February 2014 will help the United States economy keep the cost of all dairy products down. The bill is put in to place as an insurance policy or margin protection program for American dairy farmers that are impacted by a catastrophic condition such as weather extremes, or prolonged periods of low margin rates (Producers weighing dairy policy shift in new farm bill). A significant increase in beef, poultry, fruit, vegetables or dairy prices directly impacts the consumer cost and will indirectly cause companies go out of business that directly deal in these product.
Wender, Melanie J. "Goodbye Family Farms and Hello Agribusiness: The Story of How Agricultural Policy Is Destroying the Family Farm and the Environment." Villanova Environmental Law Journal 22.1 (2011): n. pag. 1 Jan. 2011. Web.
Shahin, Jessica. US department of agriculture, Food and Nutrition Services. (2011). Implementation of the healthy, hunger-free kids act of 2010, snap education provision. Alexandria, VA : Government printing office.
The words to the famous old children’s song “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” are due for a revision. The new lines should read “Old MacDonald had a farm . . . with a lawyer here, and an accountant there, and everywhere a new federal program and regulation.” Not quite as poetic, but definitely more appropriate. The current state of agribusiness consists of an incredibly complex mix of subsidies, price supports, and bureaucratic regulations that could confound the most knowledgeable business minds. Underlying this tangled web of rules and regulations are political battles that pit normally allied groups against each other, and bring normally adversarial groups into allegiance. One bizarre outcome of federal farm policy is that consumers and tax-payers (usually one and the same) are set at cross-purposes. In this paper, I will highlight some of the unusual policies that exist today and will try to present some rational alternatives to alleviate the nightmare that is U.S. agribusiness. E...I...E...I...Ohhhhhhh.....
Puthnam J.J. and Allshore J.E. (1999). Food consumption prices and expenditures, 1970-1997. Food and Rural EACONOMIC Division, Economic Research Service, USDA Statiscal Bulletin 965