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“Why should prosperous grain farmers receive special treatment?”

Monday, May 14, 2012

Baylen Linnekin, writing in the libertarian-leaning Reason Magazine, makes “The Case Against Taxpayer-Funded Crop Insurance.”  An excerpt:

I’ll lead with the sliver of good news in the bill: Direct farm subsidies are on their way out. Subsidies are something many people—me included—have been attacking for years.

But what should be cause for celebration is instead just a case of shifting billions of taxpayer dollars from one needless federal agricultural scam to another. For as billions in direct subsidies die a worthy death, bipartisan efforts in Congress (mainly via the powerful Senate Ag Committee) could hand farmers billions of new dollars in indirect subsidies—in the form of taxpayer-funded crop insurance.

Though crop insurance isn’t new, it’s ballooned in size recently as support for subsidies has waned.

And Washington Post opinion columnist Robert Samuelson writes that high commodity prices are creating a “boom on the farm”:

Congress is writing a new farm bill and is struggling with how much to trim subsidies. But why should prosperous grain farmers and absentee owners receive special treatment and windfalls?


Table Scraps:

-  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that chemical ag giant Monsanto has made a $250,000 gift to the University of Illinois for an endowed chair in agricultural communications.

- Reuters reports a forum discussing super-weed resistance to modern herbicides produced by companies like Monsanto.

- A concerned Iowan writes to the editors of the Des Moines Register imploring that “Something has to change to force farmers to reduce erosion because too many will not do it themselves.”

Tweet of the day:

? @billl_murry How many serving of vegetables are there in a bag of cool ranch Doritos.

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