The 2012 U.S. Farm Bill: History, Problems andOpportunities for Reform
www.nationalaglawcenter.org/assets/crs/RS22131.pdf
www.downsizinggovernment.org/agriculture/food-subsidiesSchool Breakfast and Lunch ServicesSupporting Students or Farmers?C...
Food and Nutrition Subsidies• The bulk of Farm Bill spending is not for farms at all, but for food    and nutritional assi...
Current Policy Debates• Should the programs should be used to target increased    consumption of specific categories of foo...
Separate Nutrition from Ag.
Separate Nutrition from Ag.• Separating the nutrition programs from the farm subsidy provisions of the Farm Bill would red...
Separate Nutrition from Ag.• Separating the nutrition programs from the farm subsidy provisions of    the Farm Bill would ...
Separate Nutrition from Ag.• Separating the nutrition programs from the farm subsidy provisions of    the Farm Bill would ...
Commodity-orientedFarm Bill programs (Title 1)
Commodity-oriented     Farm Bill programs (Title 1)•   Provide income, price support, and other risk-management    program...
Commodity-oriented     Farm Bill programs (Title 1)•   Provide income, price support, and other risk-management    program...
Commodity-oriented     Farm Bill programs (Title 1)•   Provide income, price support, and other risk-management    program...
Direct Payments
Direct Payments•   Unless modified by Congress, direct payments will amount to    about $5 billion in 2012.
Direct Payments•   Unless modified by Congress, direct payments will amount to    about $5 billion in 2012.• These payments...
Direct Payments•   Unless modified by Congress, direct payments will amount to    about $5 billion in 2012.• These payments...
Dairy Subsidies
Dairy Subsidies• Dairy Policy. Some Title I programs target specific commodities and classes of farm operations, including ...
Dairy Subsidies• Dairy Policy. Some Title I programs target specific commodities and classes of farm operations, including ...
Dairy Subsidies• Dairy Policy. Some Title I programs target specific commodities and classes of farm operations, including ...
Title IV: Crop Insurance
Title IV: Crop Insurance• The Risk Management Agency runs the USDA’s farm insurance programs. Both “yield” and “revenue” i...
Title IV: Crop Insurance• The Risk Management Agency runs the USDA’s farm insurance programs. Both “yield” and “revenue” i...
Title IV: Crop Insurance• The Risk Management Agency runs the USDA’s farm insurance programs. Both “yield” and “revenue” i...
Title IV: Crop Insurance• The Risk Management Agency runs the USDA’s farm insurance programs. Both “yield” and “revenue” i...
Fixing the Farm Bill
Fixing the Farm Bill
Fixing the Farm Bill
Fixing the Farm Bill
Fixing the Farm Bill
Fixing the Farm Bill
Fixing the Farm Bill
Fixing the Farm Bill
Fixing the Farm Bill
Fixing the Farm Bill
Fixing the Farm Bill
Fixing the Farm Bill
Fixing the Farm Bill
Fixing the Farm Bill
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Fixing the Farm Bill

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The 2012 U.S. Farm Bill: History, Problems and Opportunities for Reform. Overheads from two publications on current agricultural policy, and opportunities for reform.

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  • This slide show shows farm bill spending on subsidies, but not the larger context behind farm subsidies. This then leads to false solutions. My slidesshows fix the myths.
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  • Fixing the Farm Bill

    1. 1. The 2012 U.S. Farm Bill: History, Problems andOpportunities for Reform
    2. 2. www.nationalaglawcenter.org/assets/crs/RS22131.pdf
    3. 3. www.downsizinggovernment.org/agriculture/food-subsidiesSchool Breakfast and Lunch ServicesSupporting Students or Farmers?Chris Edwards • July, 2009 (excerpt)One affirmative case calls for expandingstudent lunches for those living in poverty.The federal government funds school breakfastand lunch programs at 80,000 public schools... The lunch program covers 30 million children, and the breakfast program coversabout 8 million children. Federal spending on the two food programs, for free and low-cost meals, was $16 billion in fiscal 2009.The programs had their origins in the Federal Surplus Commodities Corporationestablished in 1935. That entity was designed to distribute “surplus” meat, dairy,and wheat products to the needy, including children in schools. An official historyof the school lunch program notes that the farm policies of the 1930s attempted“to remove price-depressing surplus foods from the market” yet goes on to note
    4. 4. Food and Nutrition Subsidies• The bulk of Farm Bill spending is not for farms at all, but for food and nutritional assistance programs that constitute the largest means-tested federal poverty programs outside Medicare.• Of the $284 billion that the CBO projected the 2008 Farm Bill would cost (for the 2008– 2012 fiscal year period)• $189 billion (about 65 per- cent) was spent on Title IV programs, which include food stamps (now known as the Supplemental Nutri- tion Assistance Program), the Women, Infants, and Children program, school lunch programs, and other such programs that are mainly aimed at providing assistance to children and adults from all families who suffer from poverty.
    5. 5. Current Policy Debates• Should the programs should be used to target increased consumption of specific categories of food (for example, fruits and vegetables), which poor families and individuals should be pro- gram eligible, and how much the country can afford to spend on these types of targeted income-transfer programs.7• The issue of targeting food assistance to particular foods to reduce obesity, especially among children, and to more generally encourage healthy diets will be among the most hotly contested Farm Bill issues.
    6. 6. Separate Nutrition from Ag.
    7. 7. Separate Nutrition from Ag.• Separating the nutrition programs from the farm subsidy provisions of the Farm Bill would reduce the potential for logrolling, which has meant that members from urban districts and states vote in favor of farm subsidies to obtain support for nutrition programs.
    8. 8. Separate Nutrition from Ag.• Separating the nutrition programs from the farm subsidy provisions of the Farm Bill would reduce the potential for logrolling, which has meant that members from urban districts and states vote in favor of farm subsidies to obtain support for nutrition programs.• In addition, since members representing farm constituencies dominate the agriculture committees in Congress, they do not have a background or interest in nutrition programs, which represent the bulk of the outlays under their purview. There is no natural connec- tion between these parts of the Farm Bill, and to continue the linkage reduces the quality of policy on both sides.
    9. 9. Separate Nutrition from Ag.• Separating the nutrition programs from the farm subsidy provisions of the Farm Bill would reduce the potential for logrolling, which has meant that members from urban districts and states vote in favor of farm subsidies to obtain support for nutrition programs.• In addition, since members representing farm constituencies dominate the agriculture committees in Congress, they do not have a background or interest in nutrition programs, which represent the bulk of the outlays under their purview. There is no natural connec- tion between these parts of the Farm Bill, and to continue the linkage reduces the quality of policy on both sides.
    10. 10. Commodity-orientedFarm Bill programs (Title 1)
    11. 11. Commodity-oriented Farm Bill programs (Title 1)• Provide income, price support, and other risk-management programs for a wide range of agricultural commodities, especially major crops like wheat, corn, rice, cotton, and soybeans, and other relatively smaller-revenue crops like barley, peanuts, and minor oilseeds (for example, safflower, sunflower, and canola).
    12. 12. Commodity-oriented Farm Bill programs (Title 1)• Provide income, price support, and other risk-management programs for a wide range of agricultural commodities, especially major crops like wheat, corn, rice, cotton, and soybeans, and other relatively smaller-revenue crops like barley, peanuts, and minor oilseeds (for example, safflower, sunflower, and canola).• Some programs (for example, direct pay- ments and price supports) apply broadly. Others are targeted to specific commodities, including cotton, milk, and sugar.
    13. 13. Commodity-oriented Farm Bill programs (Title 1)• Provide income, price support, and other risk-management programs for a wide range of agricultural commodities, especially major crops like wheat, corn, rice, cotton, and soybeans, and other relatively smaller-revenue crops like barley, peanuts, and minor oilseeds (for example, safflower, sunflower, and canola).• Some programs (for example, direct pay- ments and price supports) apply broadly. Others are targeted to specific commodities, including cotton, milk, and sugar.
    14. 14. Direct Payments
    15. 15. Direct Payments• Unless modified by Congress, direct payments will amount to about $5 billion in 2012.
    16. 16. Direct Payments• Unless modified by Congress, direct payments will amount to about $5 billion in 2012.• These payments are based on acres of program crops planted between 1983 and 1985 or from 1998 and 2001, and on estimated per-acre average yields for those crops from 1983 & 1985.
    17. 17. Direct Payments• Unless modified by Congress, direct payments will amount to about $5 billion in 2012.• These payments are based on acres of program crops planted between 1983 and 1985 or from 1998 and 2001, and on estimated per-acre average yields for those crops from 1983 & 1985.• The payments are essentially gifts to farmers and landowners from taxpayers that are generally unrelated to the current use of the land (although fruits and vegetables cannot be planted on those acres). They are not targeted to low-income farm households, and larger farms and wealthier farm families and landowners generally receive larger payments.
    18. 18. Dairy Subsidies
    19. 19. Dairy Subsidies• Dairy Policy. Some Title I programs target specific commodities and classes of farm operations, including dairy, sugar, and cotton.
    20. 20. Dairy Subsidies• Dairy Policy. Some Title I programs target specific commodities and classes of farm operations, including dairy, sugar, and cotton.• Taxpayers have provided milk producers with approximately $1 billion in annual subsidies, regardless of whether or not the dairy sector faced financial difficulties because of high input costs or low milk prices.
    21. 21. Dairy Subsidies• Dairy Policy. Some Title I programs target specific commodities and classes of farm operations, including dairy, sugar, and cotton.• Taxpayers have provided milk producers with approximately $1 billion in annual subsidies, regardless of whether or not the dairy sector faced financial difficulties because of high input costs or low milk prices.• Consumers, many of whom are also taxpayers, have also indirectly subsi- dized milk producers through higher prices to the tune of more than $1 billion a year as a direct result of Farm Bill– sanctioned programs.14
    22. 22. Title IV: Crop Insurance
    23. 23. Title IV: Crop Insurance• The Risk Management Agency runs the USDA’s farm insurance programs. Both “yield” and “revenue” insurance are available to farmers to protect against adverse weather, pests, and low market prices.
    24. 24. Title IV: Crop Insurance• The Risk Management Agency runs the USDA’s farm insurance programs. Both “yield” and “revenue” insurance are available to farmers to protect against adverse weather, pests, and low market prices.• The RMA describes its mission as helping farmers “manage their business risks through effective, market-based risk management solutions.” 11 The RMA has annual outlays of about $4 billion, employs about 550 people, and its activities are far from “market-based.”
    25. 25. Title IV: Crop Insurance• The Risk Management Agency runs the USDA’s farm insurance programs. Both “yield” and “revenue” insurance are available to farmers to protect against adverse weather, pests, and low market prices.• The RMA describes its mission as helping farmers “manage their business risks through effective, market-based risk management solutions.” 11 The RMA has annual outlays of about $4 billion, employs about 550 people, and its activities are far from “market-based.”• Federal crop insurance policies are sold and serviced by 16 private insurance companies, which receive federal subsidies for their administrative costs and insurance risks. The firms operate like a cartel, earning excess profits from the high premiums they charge.12 
    26. 26. Title IV: Crop Insurance• The Risk Management Agency runs the USDA’s farm insurance programs. Both “yield” and “revenue” insurance are available to farmers to protect against adverse weather, pests, and low market prices.• The RMA describes its mission as helping farmers “manage their business risks through effective, market-based risk management solutions.” 11 The RMA has annual outlays of about $4 billion, employs about 550 people, and its activities are far from “market-based.”• Federal crop insurance policies are sold and serviced by 16 private insurance companies, which receive federal subsidies for their administrative costs and insurance risks. The firms operate like a cartel, earning excess profits from the high premiums they charge.12 • They get away with that because the government provides [subsidies]

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