Farm Subsidies, Part XXXVI

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This space takes a dim view of almost all farm subsidies as market-distorting and wasteful.

And as part of the nascent Pioneer Staff Caucus for good food, I find the evidence that the incentives contained in the farm bill to produce a handful of commodity crops — in essence creating a market through government interference — is neither healthy nor good for farmers in the long run.

Yesterday’s NYTimes ran an op-ed from a farmer in Minnesota who pointed out another wrinkle in the farm bill — if you try and plant fruits and vegetables on land that had commodity (corn, soybean, rice, wheat, cotton) crops, you lose your government subsidy and you are penalized the market value of that alternative crop.  In essence, do anything outside of the commodity crop framework and face a financial penalty.  This makes no sense to me.