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Congress Fails on Farm Bill Reform (Guest: Daren Bakst)

January 29, 2019

U.S. farm policy is shaped by myths about saving the family farm when, in fact, most subsidies go to the largest farms and wealthiest farmers. The Farm Bill provides welfare for the well-to-do and the Republican Congress just made it worse.

Daren Bakst, Research Fellow in Agricultural Policy at the Heritage Foundation, argues there are several misconceptions concerning U.S. farm policy and the need for taxpayers to subsidize and insure farmers to keep an abundant food supply. Most farms don't receive subsidies; however, farm yields increase every year. The number of farms has been stable for more than 30 years and most farms are small farms. The largest 10 percent of farms receive 70 to 90 percent of farm subsidies. Just 210,000 farms of the country's 2.1 million farms receive tens of billions of dollars in subsidies. Taxpayers pay most of farm insurance premiums and cover most of farm insurance payouts. It's time to end farm subsidies. The Republican congress had a chance to reform the farm bill program but instead increased subsidies and expanded the number of people who qualify for them.
Daren Bakst is the Research Fellow in Agricultural Policy at the Heritage Foundation and policy advisor for The Heartland Institute. @darenbakst
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. is a Heartland senior fellow on environmental policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.