The University of Tennessee’s Agricultural Policy Analysis Center has examined the farm bill proposals of the Farm Bureau, the National Corn Growers Association and the American Soybean Association.
All three call for reductions in farm subsidies and for a shift toward revenue insurance subsidies, where farmers share the government spending with insurance corporations, while the corporations lobby for the payments. Along these lines, Iowa Corn Caucus rates the presidential candidates on farm welfare payments and regulations. Newt Gingrich rates best, followed by Rick Santorum, then President Obama and Mitt Romney, with Ron Paul far behind.
Corn and soybean prices are doing well, but costs are rising. If prices fall and remain low, then the proposed policies above would create a farm crisis. Revenue insurance gives income during good times, and fails during bad times. Even without reductions, farm programs are worse today than they were in 1980.
Republicans are demanding “drill baby drill” to use up our oil first. If oil dropped, ethanol could crash, taking corn down with it.
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and the National Family Farm Coalition want to run farm programs like a business, not a welfare program. We want to return to market management, with price floors, reserves and set asides, instead of ineffective and politically devastating yearly bail outs. This is the only way to insure farms against disaster.