Tuesday, July 31, 2007


A final excerpt from an e-mail I received encouraging me to oppose new farm bill legislation.

“When you think of family farmers, do you picture comedian David Letterman or former NBA star Scottie Pippen? How about billionaires like David Rockefeller and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen?”

In a previous post I addressed the issue of the family farmer.

“Local governments and fad enthusiasts may be trying to capitalize on the romanciticism of old fashioned agriculture to promote tourism via pork barrel spending. I think this undermines those legitimate producers interested in transitioning from tobacco to produce, and tarnishes the image of the modern producer and the self-reliance that modern technology makes possible.”
‘FARMERS’ MARKETS” March 23, see ‘agricultural economics’ label

Here are some additional key facts regarding farm programs:

1) Total spending on agriculture comprises 1% of the federal budget. Of that amount, less than half is allocated to the producer. The bulk of the rest is spent on aid to the poor and school lunch programs.

2) Despite that the funding is a small proportion of total federal spending, there are still market distortions that result from these programs.

One Iowa State University economist has pointed out that up to 1/3 of the price of farmland can be attributed to government payments. In fact many producers have expressed that government programs have increased the price of land and impeded their ability to expand their operation and remain competitive.

In conclusion, to have a consistent position opposing the farm bill you have to be dedicated to embrace modern science and biotechnology and be opposed to creating market distortions.

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