Why Obama wants to cut farm subsidies and other budget news

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stawarz/ Some rights reserved.

Plenty of White House budget analysis in the news today. On the agriculture side of things, President Obama wants to make deep cuts to the direct payment to farmers program, which has been widely criticized as misguided government spending. Farmers are paid whether they need the money or not. According to the Wall Street Journal:

Net farm income is forecast to increase 13.6% this year to $128.2 billion, the highest inflation-adjusted amount in 40 years, according to administration. Its proposal would cut $37.8 billion in farm subsidies over 10 years.

Now, farm subsidies sure won't disappear completely. A bunch of subsidies, including the dairy program, may turn into crop insurance programs under new proposals that may one day again be called the Farm Bill. But Obama's budget would also cut some crop insurance programs, too. Senate leaders are strongly defending the program while emphasizing that there's only a payout if there's a loss.

The American Farm Bureau got behind the end to direct payment subsidies in its recent proposal for a 5-year Farm Bill, as reported in The Hill:

The new proposal reflects the need for added cuts and incorporates some policy decisions made by the House and Senate Agriculture Committees during their failed attempts last year to enact a farm bill.

Whereas the Farm Bureau in 2012 proposed a catastrophic loss insurance program that was widely rejected by lawmakers, this year, it is proposing a system tailored to insuring against smaller revenue losses.

The details will all continue to shift and morph as lawmakers and lobbyists try to find a shape and price for the Farm Bill that will actually pass.

Meanwhile, just as Congressmen Bill Owens and Peter Welch introduced a bill to create a visa program for foreign dairy workers, Congressional leaders say farm labor unions and agricultural leaders are nearing a deal to give undocumented farmworkers already here a path to citizenship and augment the H2A visa program for farmworkers.

Oh, and if you want to feed your conspiracy theory diet, and want to buy an "aquaponics" system for the fallout shelter, check out this theory that FEMA is going to use the excuse of natural disasters to raid peoples' "survival stockpiles" of food.

 

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4 Comments

  1. The farm subsidis should be eliminated. Keepin artifically high prices on farm produce by paying farmers not to grow crops creating shortages is humiliating to fair minded farmers that want to earn a living the old fashioned way[earning it].
    In essence farmers are being paid to sleep in, take vacations and loaf. They would rather work.

  2. It's about time we end the corporate welfare buried in the farm bill. We need a cost effective and less corruptible safety net for farmers, not one that pays corporations and individuals not to actually grow and process food.

    While they're at it, the feds need to end the boondoggle that is the Ethanol subsidy. Technology has moved past this first generation bio-fuel and on to second and even third generation bio-fuels that don't incorporate food stuffs in their production and instead utilize waste products or algae to produce more energy per unit of input than Ethanol.

    Hopefully the usual suspects won't, yet again, kill this effort to bring some sanity to the Farm Bill.

  3. EVH I'm a farmer in NYS. You hit the nail right on the head.

  4. Farmers are extremely hard workers 24/7/365, and most farmers put in 16 to 18 hours a day. I don't know of one farmer that wants subsidy checks from the gov't, all they want is to be paid a FAIR price for their milk! In the future, family farms will be gone and vegetables, meat and, eventually milk, will be brought in from other countries, countries that don't care about cleanliness, pesticides or disease, and then all the "big mouths" who are complaining that farmers get too much help from the gov't. will be the ones complaining the loudest.

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