Policy Plate: “Farmers' safety net is now a money bag”
A story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune documents the ways that unlimited crop insurance subsidies are driving up the costs of farming and contributing to the loss of wetlands and grasslands.
The article features Minnesota farmer Darwyn Bach, who describes how crop insurance helps “stoke land prices and drive up the rents:”
Bach rents most of the 520 acres he farms, about half of which he grows corn on. He'll pay $60 an acre to insure his corn this year – a one-time payment of $15,900 he'll make in October.
The policy he bought guarantees him 85 percent of the sale price of his proven corn yield, or about $940 an acre, based on a price that's been set, he said. It costs him about $480 an acre to grow the corn.
That's a guaranteed profit of $460 an acre. Bach still has to pay rent out of that, but figures he'll pocket about $200 an acre – an “exceptional” amount, he said.
For farmers who own their land, the guaranteed profit could be more like $460 an acre, he said. For a 1,000-acre operation, that's a guaranteed $460,000.
“That's ridiculous,” Bach said.
New on Ag Mag: Farm Bill Pickpockets. Click here to read the full post.
A Star-Tribune editorial examines the possible link between food policy and obesity.
Robert Lawrence of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has a blog up on The Huffington Post detailing the connection between conservation programs and public health.
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