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Farm subsidies: How effective are they? | IN 60 SECONDS

Farm businesses have enjoyed
exceptionally high prices and incomes over the last ten years. Even this year, with
somewhat lower crop and livestock prices, farm cash incomes are well above their
long-run average. In fact, since the early 1980s, households that own and operate
farm businesses have consistently enjoyed higher incomes than the average
American household. This is not your great-grandmother’s poverty-riven
“Grapes of Wrath” farming community. Nevertheless, Congress continues to
funnel over twenty billion dollars a year in subsidies to farm businesses.
Those payments mainly flow to the largest farm operations, whose owners
enjoy incomes in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Many farm subsidy
programs also waste scarce economic resources. For example, crop insurance
programs encourage farms to adopt high-risk strategies and farm fragile
lands. Several conservation subsidies are so poorly targeted that they have almost
no impact on the environment. So is there any justification for continuing most
farm subsidy programs? The answer, quite simply, is no. So what do you think about
farm subsidies? Let us know in your comments, and also let us know what other
topics you’d like our scholars to cover in 60 seconds. And be sure to like and
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  1. Alika Ostermiller Author

    should we really get rid of them entirely or change them to stop environmental damage and abuse? like you get the normal subsidies if you use good farming methods and dont abuse the land.

  2. Mathieu MacAdam Author

    Less farmers feeding more people. And it's a fact worth making a point of that their incomes on average are going up? Make your point about the subsidies without the pointless drivel

  3. Rich Dobbs Author

    This situation shows how how much trouble we are in. You've got subsidizes that at best can only benefit a small fraction of the populace and a small number of businesses, yet they survive. On top of this consider the multitude of other distortions in the economy from larger constituencies. Are we doomed?

  4. Earl Minime Author

    Grew up on a farm. Freeze subsidies now so that inflation will wipe them out and force agriculture to be competitive. Sowell has a lot to say about farm susidies that deserves a read.

  5. Pierre Pero Author

    I live beside a flood plain that flood more springs than not – but Ive wondered why the fields on the flood plain are always some
    of the first to be planted in the area. So all to often the fields have to be replanted. Is there such a thing as farming the insurance payment ?

  6. Craig K Author

    I am a farmer who lives in Nebraska, and I agree. But you are missing something. Why do they exist? From 2006-2013 farm income reached record levels …and do you know what happened to farm subsidies during that period? They INCREASED! What is really going on? The farm subsidies are actually a bribe to farmers to "play ball" with government regulations and record keeping programs. This includes environmental regulations on things like drainage tile or tillage practices. The government can't tell you how to farm or dictate what you can or can't do with your land….unless you are taking the payments….then they can. When farmers were making "fuck you" money they needed to make the bribe large enough to entice people to keep playing ball. Farm subsides don't exist for the benefit of farmers, they exist to manipulate those farmers into submitting to government regulation. And its an amount of money that you can't walk away from if all your neighbors(competitors) are taking. Things were so out of control during the time period mentioned above that farm land prices here increased 300-400% during that period.

  7. Scott Bowyer Author

    I'm just not sure how I feel about any subsidies for anyone in any industry.
    Wouldn't a true flat tax level this playing field? I'm just asking dumb questions as a regular joe

  8. Abel Sepulveda Author

    how do you expect me to understand what this old hag is saying when his accent is extremely bearing and he mumbles worse than a child

  9. laurejon Author

    Farm subsidies exist to ensure the USA has food security, and does not ever become dependent on the proposed Liberal One Government world that will open borders, destroy nation states, create a globe of stateless people, and rule them with an iron fist.

  10. Johan Damo Author

    They are not subsidies. It is just rich corporations stealing tax payer money because capitalism doesn't work and they are powerful enough to push around the government. Subsidies are needed these are not. Just like Oil & Gas "subsidies", telecommunication "subsidies", Research and Development "subsidies" etc. etc.


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