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Daren Bakst

Daren Bakst is the Research Fellow in Agricultural Policy at the Heritage Foundation and policy advisor for The Heartland Institute.

Daren Bakst is the Research Fellow in Agricultural Policy at the Heritage Foundation and policy advisor for The Heartland Institute.  In this position, Bakst studies and writes about agricultural and environmental policy and property rights, among other issues.  He has done extensive work on the farm bill and is taking the lead on Heritage’s efforts to reshape the farm bill debate well before any new farm bill is proposed.  His agriculture portfolio is extremely broad, covering everything from agricultural subsidies, agricultural trade, to food policy issues such as GMO food labeling and the FDA’s de facto artificial trans-fat ban.

In the environmental arena, Bakst does a significant amount of work on the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and other critical environmental statutes.  His recent efforts have focused extensively on the EPA and the Corps’ “Waters of the United States” rule, as well as EPA’s proposed ozone standards.  As a long-time proponent of strengthening property rights, Bakst has been promoting the need for eminent domain reform in light of the 10-year anniversary of the infamous Kelo v. City of New London case.  

Bakst frequently submits comments to regulatory agencies and has appeared in or been quoted by a wide range of media outlets such as The Wall Street JournalUSA TodayThe Washington Times, CNN, Fox Business News, Al-Jazeera America, and U.S. News and World Report. 

Before joining the Heritage Foundation, Bakst was a policy counsel for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, where he focused on regulatory reform, environmental policy, as well as food and agricultural policy.  He served as the executive to the association’s Government Oversight, Operations & Consumer Affairs committee, which was responsible for issues such as regulatory process reform.

He worked for seven years at the Raleigh, N.C.-based John Locke Foundation, one of the largest state-based, free-market think tanks. As director of legal and regulatory studies, his broad portfolio included constitutional law, energy and environmental policy, and property rights. 

Bakst serves on the Federalist Society’s Environmental Law and Property Rights Executive Committee and was a member of the Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force of the American Legislative Exchange Council.  He also serves on the College Level Advisory Board for Constituting America, an organization that informs and educates about the importance of the U.S. Constitution. 

Bakst, who hails from West Palm Beach, Fla., received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from George Washington University. A licensed attorney, he holds a law degree from University of Miami and a master of laws degree from American University.

Recent Articles and Publications

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February 19, 2021
By Daren Bakst, Josh Sewell
Over the past few years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has set a terrible precedent by greatly expanding its use of the Agriculture Secretary’s discretionary spending authority under the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act.
November 2, 2020
By Daren Bakst, Katie Tubb
A proactive approach to enhancing environmental quality requires protecting property rights and advancing economic prosperity.
July 16, 2020
By Daren Bakst
Congress is considering using the coronavirus pandemic as a pretext to make permanent and sweeping changes to agricultural policy, inappropriately delegating congressional spending power to the Agriculture Secretary.
January 24, 2020
By Daren Bakst
Although in any single year, farmers could suffer set backs, in general the current agriculture economy compares favorably to historical periods of economic performance for farms.
October 10, 2019
By Daren Bakst
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service released final regulations aimed at improving implementation of the 1973 Endangered Species Act to protect threatened and endangered species while strengthening pr
December 3, 2018
By Daren Bakst
We’re in the holiday season, but that doesn’t mean conservative legislators should take a holiday from their conservative principles. Unfortunately, the farm bill devised by House and Senate negotiators would require them to do just that.
May 29, 2018
By Daren Bakst
Last week, House Republican leaders tried to get a farm bill passed by making changes to the food stamps program.

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