We Don't Need a Farm Bill Anymore
Charles Lane: It's an out-of-date and expensive 'monstrosity'
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2013 7:19 PM CST
A Wisconsin dairy farmer drives his tractor planting winter wheat at his farm near Verona.   (AP Photo/Andy Manis)

(Newser) – In what is being hailed by many as a sign of progress in DC, House and Senate negotiators are finally poised to pass a farm bill next month. But at the Washington Post, Charles Lane has a fundamental question: Why does the US even need a farm bill? The answer, in the days of the Great Depression, used to be food security. But in an era of ultra-cheap food in which farms produce tons more output than farms of yore, that's "preposterous" now.

"Is there something about farming, as opposed to other businesses, that makes market economics uniquely inapplicable?" asks Lane, who thinks the bill is more about the "hammerlock" that the agriculture lobby has on the Capitol. Yes, the farm bill also includes the nation's food-stamp program, called SNAP. But that's simply the result of an old congressional deal that makes little sense anymore. Surely, Congress can find a way to help the poor without providing "corporate welfare for agribusiness." Click for his full column.

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Ezekiel 25:17
Dec 21, 2013 1:21 PM CST
If you know a farmer, or are one, you know the spiel. Get paid to not plant crops. Get paid to plant specific crops. Sell crops to USDA SNAP so they can give it to morbidly obese Section-8 inhabitants. Sell pork to USDA so they can can it with 30 percent fact content and ensure Section-8 inhabitants also need Obamacare heart transplants. Got to love the farm bill. Compare it to China where they take a percentage of all crops as a form of farming tax and in turn give it to members of the party. It ensures everybody in China gets fed but not to he point of US obesity levels.
Dec 18, 2013 12:06 PM CST
There are few family farms left...replaced by big corporate growers who spend a lot of lobby money in Washington. That is really what this bill is about.
Dec 18, 2013 9:57 AM CST
Studied and now work in agribusiness with the men and women that produce 90% of the commodities, and I can tell you first hand that we need a Farm Bill. Most people here have forgotten about what actually happened in the 1930's, and what can happen today. Farmers have bad years based on weather, then banks refuse to back them when things improve. Farming unlike any other industry relies on the weather to produce. All it takes is one bad year, and a lot of farmers have lost their shirts. A few bad years, and the majority have lost their shirts now. Now you have an industry that nobody is left in to operate when conditions finally improve enough to produce. The Farm Bill is the defense against that. It is protection for the producers. Also, 95% of the direct farm related Farm Bill (not the Food Stamp portion) is no longer market based price manipulations (Cotton and sugar-cane are still but believe me, most farmers hate that too), it's income protection in the form of Crop Insurance, and disaster relief, plus some items ensuring available financing during lean times when your Bank of Americas and Wells Fargos won't even look at a farm loan (Federal Land Banks, and Farm Credit Organizations). If there is any industry in this country that is "Too Big To Fail," don't look at banks and tech. It's agriculture. It's agriculture that has ensured that this country hasn't known wide-spread hunger in nearly a century, and it is the Farm Bills that have ensured that we have a robust agricultural sector.