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Department of Agriculture

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  • Backgrounder posted June 28, 2016 by Daren Bakst Eliminating and Reducing Regulatory Obstacles in Agriculture

    Too often, federal agricultural policy focuses on helping farmers through massive programs rather than on determining how government itself creates problems for farmers and ranchers. Regulations, in particular, make agricultural production and innovation more difficult by limiting farmers’ and ranchers’ ability to address agricultural risk,[1] work their land, and meet…

  • Commentary posted April 12, 2016 by John L. Ligon USDA's Rural Housing Service Should Be Plowed Under

    Among the many federal agencies with an “affordable housing” mission is the Agriculture Department’s Rural Housing Service (RHS). It was established in 1949 to provide housing assistance to poor farmers and farm workers. But what is a federal agency without mission creep? By 1961, RHS expanded its portfolio to include direct mortgage loans to individuals residing on…

  • Backgrounder posted March 23, 2016 by John L. Ligon Time to Shut Down the USDA’s Rural Housing Service

    The Rural Housing Service (RHS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is an unnecessary artifact—part of the post–New Deal vision of federal government housing policy. At the RHS’s inception in 1949, the agency was primarily focused on providing rural-development support to farmers and laborers. Today, however, the RHS specifically targets “underserved” rural areas…

  • Backgrounder posted December 3, 2015 by Alden Abbott Time to Repeal Agricultural Marketing Orders

    Imagine that you and your family have run a family farm for generations, raising a legal and healthy food crop that is popular with American consumers. Until recently, you dealt with middlemen (“handlers”) who processed, packed, and sold your crop to consumers but held some back from the marketplace. You have determined, however, that using handlers is costing you a great…

  • Backgrounder posted March 25, 2015 by Nicolas Loris The Antiquated Act: Time to Repeal the Antiquities Act

    President Barack Obama recently designated three national monuments in Colorado, Hawaii, and Illinois.[1] Under the Antiquities Act,[2] the President can designate areas as “national monuments” without congressional approval. Both Democratic and Republican Administrations have unilaterally used the Antiquities Act to restrict land use without input from Congress, the…

  • Issue Brief posted February 10, 2015 by Daren Bakst Capping the Costs of the Two Major New Commodity Programs

    The 2014 farm bill eliminated the infamous direct payments program that gave farmers subsidies regardless of need. Instead of stopping there and making real progress, Congress created two new commodity programs, Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC), which will likely cost as much as and probably far more than the direct payments program. The farm…

  • Backgrounder posted July 17, 2014 by Mario Loyola Sugar Shakedown: How Politicians Conspire with the Sugar Lobby to Defraud America’s Families

    Early in the 20th century, a way of life for most of America’s farmers came to an end. Industrialization was reaching the countryside, dramatically increasing farm productivity and putting downward pressure on prices. Against that backdrop, dramatically declining exports after World War I and during the Great Depression pushed American farms into bankruptcy by the…

  • Backgrounder posted May 30, 2014 by Daren Bakst Addressing Waste, Abuse, and Extremism in USDA Programs

    The federal debt is now more than $17 trillion. Congress needs to significantly cut spending across the board, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is no exception. Spending decisions are about more than just numbers; they reflect policy preferences. Congress should assert its lawmaking and spending powers to control expenditures and to formulate sound policy.…

  • Posted on May 21, 2014 by Daren Bakst Eat Your Veggies (or Throw Them Away): The Disastrous School Nutrition Standards

    Leave it to the federal government to create school lunch standards that make kids want to throw out food more than eat...…

  • Posted on May 21, 2014 by Daren Bakst Eat Your Veggies (or Throw Them Away): The Disastrous School Nutrition Standards

    Leave it to the federal government to create school lunch standards that make kids want to throw out food more than...…

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  • Commentary posted May 15, 2014 by Alden Abbott The Ninth Circuit Rescues the Government Raisin Cartel

    On May 9, 2014, in Horne v. Department of Agriculture, the Ninth Circuit struck a blow against economic liberty by denying two California raisin growers’ efforts to recover penalties imposed against them by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  The growers’ heinous offense was their refusal to continue participating in a highly anticompetitive cartel.  In order to…

  • Issue Brief posted February 10, 2015 by Daren Bakst Capping the Costs of the Two Major New Commodity Programs

    The 2014 farm bill eliminated the infamous direct payments program that gave farmers subsidies regardless of need. Instead of stopping there and making real progress, Congress created two new commodity programs, Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC), which will likely cost as much as and probably far more than the direct payments program. The farm…

  • Backgrounder posted May 30, 2014 by Daren Bakst Addressing Waste, Abuse, and Extremism in USDA Programs

    The federal debt is now more than $17 trillion. Congress needs to significantly cut spending across the board, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is no exception. Spending decisions are about more than just numbers; they reflect policy preferences. Congress should assert its lawmaking and spending powers to control expenditures and to formulate sound policy.…

  • Backgrounder posted March 25, 2015 by Nicolas Loris The Antiquated Act: Time to Repeal the Antiquities Act

    President Barack Obama recently designated three national monuments in Colorado, Hawaii, and Illinois.[1] Under the Antiquities Act,[2] the President can designate areas as “national monuments” without congressional approval. Both Democratic and Republican Administrations have unilaterally used the Antiquities Act to restrict land use without input from Congress, the…

  • Backgrounder posted June 7, 2012 by Diane Katz Farm Bill 2012: Agriculture Policy Ripe for Reform

    Abstract: Every five years, Congress grapples with agriculture policy in the form of a multibillion dollar “farm bill” that is bloated with a costly array of extraneous programs. Many of the major provisions in the existing law—the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008—expire on September 30, 2012. This expiration offers lawmakers an opportunity to rescue agriculture…

  • Backgrounder posted March 23, 2016 by John L. Ligon Time to Shut Down the USDA’s Rural Housing Service

    The Rural Housing Service (RHS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is an unnecessary artifact—part of the post–New Deal vision of federal government housing policy. At the RHS’s inception in 1949, the agency was primarily focused on providing rural-development support to farmers and laborers. Today, however, the RHS specifically targets “underserved” rural areas…

  • Commentary posted April 12, 2016 by John L. Ligon USDA's Rural Housing Service Should Be Plowed Under

    Among the many federal agencies with an “affordable housing” mission is the Agriculture Department’s Rural Housing Service (RHS). It was established in 1949 to provide housing assistance to poor farmers and farm workers. But what is a federal agency without mission creep? By 1961, RHS expanded its portfolio to include direct mortgage loans to individuals residing on…

  • Backgrounder posted June 28, 2016 by Daren Bakst Eliminating and Reducing Regulatory Obstacles in Agriculture

    Too often, federal agricultural policy focuses on helping farmers through massive programs rather than on determining how government itself creates problems for farmers and ranchers. Regulations, in particular, make agricultural production and innovation more difficult by limiting farmers’ and ranchers’ ability to address agricultural risk,[1] work their land, and meet…

  • Issue Brief posted April 18, 2012 by Bryan Riley The U.S. Sugar Program: Bad for Consumers, Bad for Agriculture, and Bad for America

    Government interference in the sugar market hurts consumers and food manufacturers by driving up the price of sugar, threatening competitive farmers and ranchers by jeopardizing export growth, and weakening the U.S. economy by diverting resources from more competitive uses. This Depression-era program, which was supposed to end in 1940, has outlived its intended lifespan…

  • Backgrounder posted September 17, 2012 by David W. Kreutzer, Ph.D. Renewable Fuel Standard, Ethanol Use, and Corn Prices

    Abstract: The ethanol mandate in the federal Renewable Fuel Standard increases corn prices and food prices. This harms consumers and distorts the domestic and international commodity market. While waiving the mandate would be an improvement, eliminating it is the best choice. As corn prices hit record highs, the folly of the federal ethanol mandate becomes ever more…

Find more work on Department of Agriculture
  • Backgrounder posted June 28, 2016 by Daren Bakst Eliminating and Reducing Regulatory Obstacles in Agriculture

    Too often, federal agricultural policy focuses on helping farmers through massive programs rather than on determining how government itself creates problems for farmers and ranchers. Regulations, in particular, make agricultural production and innovation more difficult by limiting farmers’ and ranchers’ ability to address agricultural risk,[1] work their land, and meet…

  • Backgrounder posted March 23, 2016 by John L. Ligon Time to Shut Down the USDA’s Rural Housing Service

    The Rural Housing Service (RHS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is an unnecessary artifact—part of the post–New Deal vision of federal government housing policy. At the RHS’s inception in 1949, the agency was primarily focused on providing rural-development support to farmers and laborers. Today, however, the RHS specifically targets “underserved” rural areas…

  • Backgrounder posted December 3, 2015 by Alden Abbott Time to Repeal Agricultural Marketing Orders

    Imagine that you and your family have run a family farm for generations, raising a legal and healthy food crop that is popular with American consumers. Until recently, you dealt with middlemen (“handlers”) who processed, packed, and sold your crop to consumers but held some back from the marketplace. You have determined, however, that using handlers is costing you a great…

  • Backgrounder posted March 25, 2015 by Nicolas Loris The Antiquated Act: Time to Repeal the Antiquities Act

    President Barack Obama recently designated three national monuments in Colorado, Hawaii, and Illinois.[1] Under the Antiquities Act,[2] the President can designate areas as “national monuments” without congressional approval. Both Democratic and Republican Administrations have unilaterally used the Antiquities Act to restrict land use without input from Congress, the…

  • Issue Brief posted February 10, 2015 by Daren Bakst Capping the Costs of the Two Major New Commodity Programs

    The 2014 farm bill eliminated the infamous direct payments program that gave farmers subsidies regardless of need. Instead of stopping there and making real progress, Congress created two new commodity programs, Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC), which will likely cost as much as and probably far more than the direct payments program. The farm…

  • Backgrounder posted July 17, 2014 by Mario Loyola Sugar Shakedown: How Politicians Conspire with the Sugar Lobby to Defraud America’s Families

    Early in the 20th century, a way of life for most of America’s farmers came to an end. Industrialization was reaching the countryside, dramatically increasing farm productivity and putting downward pressure on prices. Against that backdrop, dramatically declining exports after World War I and during the Great Depression pushed American farms into bankruptcy by the…

  • Backgrounder posted May 30, 2014 by Daren Bakst Addressing Waste, Abuse, and Extremism in USDA Programs

    The federal debt is now more than $17 trillion. Congress needs to significantly cut spending across the board, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is no exception. Spending decisions are about more than just numbers; they reflect policy preferences. Congress should assert its lawmaking and spending powers to control expenditures and to formulate sound policy.…

  • Backgrounder posted July 2, 2013 by Daren Bakst, Romina Boccia Congress Could Cut Five USDA Programs and Save $2.8 Billion a Year

    On June 13, 2013, the House Appropriations Committee approved its $19.5 billion Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies appropriations bill for fiscal year (FY) 2014.[1] The full House is expected to take up the bill soon. With nearly $17 trillion in federal debt and chronic deficits on the budget horizon, the House should pursue…

  • Issue Brief posted June 25, 2013 by Daren Bakst, Romina Boccia How to Slash Billions from the Agriculture Appropriations Bill

    Though the “farm” bill was just struck down in the House, there are still serious agriculture spending issues that must be addressed. The House is expected to take up the $19.5 billion agriculture appropriations bill soon. This is a prime opportunity for the House to show that it is serious about cutting unnecessary agricultural spending and reducing the national debt.…

  • Backgrounder posted September 17, 2012 by David W. Kreutzer, Ph.D. Renewable Fuel Standard, Ethanol Use, and Corn Prices

    Abstract: The ethanol mandate in the federal Renewable Fuel Standard increases corn prices and food prices. This harms consumers and distorts the domestic and international commodity market. While waiving the mandate would be an improvement, eliminating it is the best choice. As corn prices hit record highs, the folly of the federal ethanol mandate becomes ever more…

Find more work on Department of Agriculture
Find more work on Department of Agriculture