The Heritage Foundation

Executive Summary on Agriculture

September 21, 2016

September 21, 2016 | Executive Summary on Agriculture

Farms and Free Enterprise: A Blueprint for Agricultural Policy

The farm bill, which comes before Congress every five years or so, continues to provide costly and harmful subsidies to agricultural producers.  Farms and Free Enterprise gives legislators a clear choice before the next farm bill is debated, likely in 2018: Support a free-enterprise alternative to the farm bill or maintain the status quo.  This major report proposes reforms that better reflect modern-day farming and can free agricultural producers from excessive federal government intervention.

In addition to examining subsidies and agricultural risk, the report addresses key agricultural issues not normally addressed in the farm bill, such as the Renewable Fuel Standard, water regulation, and most agricultural trade.  Agricultural policy is far broader than just subsidies to address risk, and this report reflects this broad scope.  When examining agricultural policy, the policy debate is often focused on how the federal government should intervene to help farmers.  However, this report also examines the other side of this equation: How does federal government intervention, particularly through regulation, hurt farmers and ranchers?  Farms and Free Enterprise should provide a valuable starting point for further discussion of many important issues affecting American agriculture.

The full report can be accessed below.  For ease, the links below also provide access to most of the separate sections of the report, which were released as individual reports. (Note: Small changes exist between these individual reports and the final published version.)

Farms and Free Enterprise: A Blueprint for Agricultural Policy

Individual Reports (released before the full report)

Addressing Risk in Agriculture

Eliminate Favorable Treatment of Biofuels

Promoting Free Trade in Agriculture

Eliminating and Reducing Regulatory Obstacles in Agriculture

About the Author

Daren Bakst Research Fellow in Agricultural Policy
Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies

Nicolas Loris Herbert and Joyce Morgan Fellow in Energy and Environmental Policy
Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies