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Big Government Corporate Farm Welfare Program
Passes the Senate

For Immediate Release. February 13, 2002Tragically, by the Senate’s passage of the Farm Security Act of 2001 (H.R 2646; Agriculture, Conservation, and Rural Enhancement Act of 2001;  S. 1731) big government once again prevails in Washington providing payments to many farmers who are least in need of assistance. 

Hope was once provided to a dismal failing system of farm subsidies by the 1996 Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act (P.L. 104-127) which was signed into law in April 1996 by former President Clinton.  This will now be abandoned by the passage of the Farm Security Act.  Subsidies, the cornerstones of U.S. farm policy since the Great Depression, were scheduled to be phased out by this law which was commonly called “Freedom to Farm.”  This term resulted from the fact that farmers in return for fewer subsidies would have more control over their planting decisions.  Prior to this reform, farmers based planting decisions more on government policy than market demand.   The law’s intent was to allow market forces to have greater influence over farms and agriculture markets with less governmental interference.   

After becoming law over the next several years, farmers reacted to slight price decreases in 1998, requesting and receiving between fiscal years 1998-2000 the first of several “emergency packages” which totaled $24 billion.  Subsidies were set by the law at $ 6 billion annually and then were set to phase out.  Unfortunately, however rather than weaning farmers from subsidies, the government is giving them more than ever, sending the so-called “Freedom to Farm” law off course.    For example, government payments provided only about 18 cents of every dollar farmers earned in the early 1990’s.  However, agriculture price supports accounted for 35 cents of every dollar of farm income over the period 1998-2000.

Federal farm subsidies are the cause of both unwanted and unintended consequences.  For example, they have encouraged overproduction of crops (that drive prices down) and have driven up land rental costs that result in increasing farm costs.  Price supports enormously benefit highly efficient commercial farms that allow them to expand their operations that reduce food prices even further while others such as family farmers do not receive enough benefit to remain viable.

“Wrongly, the Farm Security Act of 2001 that passed the Senate on February 13, 2002, as well the in the House last year keeps producers dependent on federal support instead of helping them when unexpected events beyond their control occur,” said Dr. Joel P. Rutkowski, president of the American Voice Institute of Public Policy.  “This type of agriculture policy places inordinate burdens on American taxpayers as well as countering any efforts to stimulate an economy in recession.  These efforts will result  in more family farmers that have been the back bone of  American agriculture for hundreds of years to go under as well as result in higher taxes and food prices that put an undue burden the most on poor Americans that every politicians always tries to say they are trying to help.” 

For Interviews Contact:

Joel P. Rutkowski, P.h.D.
President, The American Voice Institute Of Public Policy
757-436-5927
jrutkowski@americanvoiceinstitute.org

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