> ...government programs that are purportedly designed to
> take marginal land out of production always seem to show
> up when markets are flooded with grain (or whatever) and
> prices are depressed.
How could it be otherwise? The purpose of the programs is to support
prices. They are triggered into action by low price.
> ...the conservation effects are valuable and worthwhile
> -- but I'm not sure that they should be the
> responsibility of the government...
Who else but the public sector is going to do this?
> Anyway, however the government does it, it manages to
> provide roughly 1/3 of farm income year after year.
I agree, subsidy of this magnitude does not make sense. Shouldn't the goal
be stabilization, not net subsidy? Of course designing policy that
stabilizes markets without drifting off into subsidy is probably difficult
in the face of political manipulation.
> the best of New Deal farm programs legislated a floor
> under farm income, enabled production controls to limit
> volatility, ensured that all farm income came from the
> market rather than the govt, and did this with almost
> no govt expense. The peanuts, tobacco, and sugar
> program have always worked more or less like this.
The distortions this strategy produces have costs. I've heard that peanuts
would be valuable in midwest rotations if they weren't government regulated.
Farmers don't even realize they could grow peanuts. How much sense does it
make to maintain a big domestic sugar industry when Colombia or Venezuela
can produce it way cheaper? We all pay for these things, we just don't
notice it. This stuff is mostly pork, taking money out of our pockets and
putting it into the Southeast peanut farmers and the giant Florida sugar
> I live in Kentucky, and we have one of the largest
> concentrations of small family farms and relatively
> vital small communities. I wish it were because
> we have a "green bean program," but there is no such
> thing. There is a tobacco program, and we are grateful.
I bet you are! I'd like a pork-barrel "program" for me too!
But to take the other side of the argument, this kind of regulation (quotas
by region) is a very powerful approach to generate market power for growers.
In effect, it constitutes a government-mandated cartel or co-op. Of course
it would require import restrictions too. It could be used to garauntee
vitality of rural communities, and manage regional environmental impact. Do
you think that all crop production should be brought under this kind of
To Unsubscribe: Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the command
To Subscribe to Digest: Email email@example.com with the command
All messages to sanet-mg are archived at: