The devil is in the details: Base updating and the cost of new farm bill programs

Article Highlights

  • Hopes for a 2012 farm bill are now ancient history.

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  • The Direct Payments Program provides substantial subsidies mainly to wealthy farmers & landowners.

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  • The agricultural sector of the US economy is currently enjoying record profits.

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Hopes for a 2012 farm bill are now ancient history. Instead, there will likely be a new farm bill in January 2014. One thing is more certain: in Congress, there is extensive agreement that a major program embedded in successive farm bills since 1996, the $5 billion-a-year Direct Payments Program, will be discontinued in any new farm legislation. This program provides substantial subsidy payments, mainly to wealthy farmers and landowners, based largely on what was produced on the land in the early and mid-1980s.

 

 

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Vincent H.
Smith

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