Monday, October 15, 2007

Former American Farm Bureau President, calls for end to farm subsidies

This is about as big as it gets in the farm community for the call of the end of farm subsidies by Uncle Sam. Today former American Farm Bureau President, Dean Kleckner and Iowa farmer, wrote an opinion piece in the NY Times calling for an end to subsidized farming in America:

I know all about subsidies. For years, I took them myself for my corn and soybean farm. I didn’t really enjoy it, but they were available and I rationalized my participation: Other industries received payments and tax breaks — why shouldn’t I? In addition, I spent 14 years as the head of the American Farm Bureau, the leading farmers’ lobby and a prime player in the creation of the subsidy system....

Today, it’s obvious that we need to transform our public support for farmers. Many of our current subsidies inhibit trade because of their link to commodity prices. By promising to cover losses, the government insulates farmers from market signals that normally would encourage sensible, long-term decisions about what to grow and where to grow it. There’s something fundamentally perverse about a system that has farmers hoping for low prices at harvest time — it’s like praying for bad weather. But that’s precisely what happens, because those low prices mean bigger checks from Washington.

Moreover, these practices hurt poor farmers in the developing world who find themselves struggling to compete. It’s one of the reasons that the World Trade Organization won’t let these practices stand.

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