How to Fix the 2012 Farm Bill


The American Enterprise Institute has published a monster package of proposed reforms for the 2012 Farm Bill, which cost $307 billion when it was passed by Congress in 2008. The key points of the AEI papers are

  • Most farm subsidies go to substantial and successful operations and provide little support for the farms they were once intended to benefit. Many of the programs create barriers to more efficient agriculture in the United States, interfere with international trade, and have adverse effects on farmers in developing countries.
  • US agricultural policy influences global supply and demand. Many of those adversely affected by current US trade and domestic agricultural policies are among the poorest on the planet.
  • A failure to increase publicly funded agricultural research and development (R&D) will likely have long-term consequences for the sustainability of US agriculture in a competitive global environment and for the natural resources on which it depends.
  • The federal government has created an array of policies—production controls, subsidies, and marketing orders—that increase the price of milk for US consumers and increase the income of milk producers.
  • US families pay nearly twice the world price for sugar and other sweeteners because of federal government policies intended to protect domestic beet and cane sugar producers from cheaper foreign competitors. 

The entire series of white papers is here