January 9, 2011
By Brian M. Riedl
Farm subsidies are outdated, unnecessary and unaffordable. Some suggest the farm economy cannot function without subsidies. However, nearly all subsidies go to growers of just five crops: wheat, cotton, corn, soybeans and rice. By contrast, fruit, vegetable, livestock and poultry operations receive nearly nothing, yet produce two-thirds of the farm economy, with stable prices and healthy incomes. Why can't the Big Five crops function in the same free market? Others assert that subsidies alleviate farmer poverty. Setting aside the Norman Rockwell imagery, farm subsidies are America's largest corporate welfare program. Congress targets most subsidies toward large commercial farmers, who report an average annual income of about $200,000 — well exceeding the national average. The real problem is that farmers' incomes fluctuate due to crop and weather unpredictability. This can be solved inexpensively with Farmer Savings Accounts and improved crop insurance. Government-wide spending reforms are needed to balance the budget. Farm subsidies deserve no special exemption.
Brian Riedl is Grover M. Hermann Fellow in Federal Budgetary Affairs at The Heritage Foundation.
First appeared in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Brian M. Riedl
Grover Hermann Fellow in Federal Budgetary Affairs
Read More >>
Heritage's daily Morning Bell e-mail keeps you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.
The subscription is free and delivers you the latest conservative policy perspectives on the news each weekday--straight from Heritage experts.
The Morning Bell is your daily wake-up call offering a fresh, conservative analysis of the news.
More than 450,000 Americans rely on Heritage's Morning Bell to stay up to date on the policy battles that affect them.
Rush Limbaugh says "The Heritage Foundation's Morning Bell is just terrific!"
Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) says it's "a great way to start the day for any conservative who wants to get America back on track."
Sign up to start your free subscription today!
The Heritage Foundation is the nation’s most broadly supported public policy research institute, with hundreds of thousands of individual, foundation and corporate donors. Heritage, founded in February 1973, has a staff of 275 and an annual expense budget of $82.4 million.
Our mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense. Read More
© 2015, The Heritage Foundation Conservative policy research since 1973