NCPA: Congress Grows Pork For Christmas

After much political wrangling, the Senate began debating a five-year renewal of the federal farm bill that has become nothing more than an entitlement for large wealthy farm operators, according to H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA).  

"The programs do nothing more than make rich agribusinesses richer, and increase the costs of food to the poor," said Burnett. "The farm program is one of the last bastions of untouched public welfare, with the additional problem that it is welfare for the well-to-do.

"Congress won't limit payments to rich farmers.  Worse, they want to fix a problem that doesn't exist by expanding the program to fruits and vegetable growers who have done quite well without subsidies for all of these years."

Burnett points out large, wealthy farms, owned by few people or by corporations, receive most of the subsidies.  Smaller, family-owned farms get little or no subsidy and thus cannot compete with corporate farms.

Additionally, there is very little reason to remove free-market forces from the farming industry. Farmers and the agricultural industry should be subject to the same profits and losses experienced by every other industry or business in the U.S.

"Farm subsidies have long outlived whatever usefulness they might have had and should be ended," said Burnett. "If we didn't have such programs, we wouldn't be in the ludicrous position of paying farmers not to farm, to leave fields fallow for environmental reasons -- on many lands, developing the field would not have occurred and would not make continuing economic sense without the subsidy."