Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Farm Programs Focus of Articles

The Springfield State Journal Register ran a couple of articles about farm payments and who is getting them:

"I think what's fascinating is that virtually every organization that doesn't have a personal financial interest in farm subsidies seems to oppose them," said Brian Riedl, a budget analyst with the Heritage Foundation.

"Farm subsidies seem to harm everyone except the large agribusinesses that get the checks. It's amazing that farm subsidies are so difficult to reform.

"We can't win."

New Zealand has eliminate farm subsidies and farmer say they are better off for it:

New Zealand once subsidized agriculture, mainly dairy farmers and cattle and sheep ranchers, believing that government money was needed to prop up farmers who had to compete against counterparts from other nations that also had generous subsidies.

Faced with an economic crisis, however, New Zealand went cold turkey in 1984, ending subsidies with almost no warning. It remains the only industrialized nation in the world that has completely abandoned farm subsidies.

At first, doom-and-gloom predictions appeared accurate. Farmers organized protests as land values plummeted. Some went out of business. Unemployment rose, and rural business owners suffered as farmers stopped spending money. But hard times didn’t last.

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