FARM SUBSIDIES HELP WRECK THE FOOD SUPPLY
by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© November 2019, LD Wilson Consultants, Inc.
All information in this article is solely the opinion of the author and is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.
Every year the United States Congress and the legislatures of many nations pass Ňfarm billsÓ. These are payment of money and other types of support for the agriculture industry.
In America, farm subsidies amount to about $25 billion every year. Almost all go to huge farms that raise corn, wheat, and soybeans. Farms that raise vegetables and meat receive little to no subsidies.
Some of the rules are bizarre, such as paying farmers not to grow food, supposedly to keep the price up. Farmers are not supposed to receive more than $125,000.00 per year, but large farms find ways around these rules.
As usual with government programs, large farm businesses can afford to have lobbyists in Washington, DC to make sure the farm bill favors their interests. Small farmers cannot afford lobbyists and their interests are thus not represented as well.
THE RATIONALE FOR FARM SUBSIDIES
History in the USA. The US Constitution forbids the US government from getting involved in businesses such as agriculture. However, the idea of farm subsidies got started during the Great Depression as a way to help out farmers and assure a steady supply of food for the United States. At that time, 25% of the American population lived on farms.
Today, the subsidies are also supposed to help keep food prices low so that American farmers can compete with those from other nations.
PROBLEMS WITH FARM SUBSIDIES
The farm subsidy program has turned into a corporate welfare program, benefitting only the very large and often financially secure farming operations, also called agribusiness.
According to the Environmental Working Group, 85% of the farm subsidies go to just 15% of the farm businesses, and basically all are the large ones.
This is the same problem as all government subsidy programs. A small group of powerful interests gain control of the program and use it for their own ends.
For example, the US government heavily subsidizes allopathic medical care through the 278 or so National Institutes of Health, which primarily research drug-related therapies, but not others. Their directors must have allopathic credentials, so they provide employment and make sure that the research is in line with their method of healing - drugs, surgery and radiation. The US government also subsidizes their hospitals, but not others.
THE EFFECTS OF FARM SUBSIDIES
1. They inflate land prices in rural America, making it harder for small farmers to buy land.
2. They stop innovation. Why innovate if they will be supported anyway?
3. Small farmers are at a disadvantage because they donŐt receive subsidies. This drives many out of business.
4. The price of corn and wheat are kept low, but the price of vegetables is higher because there are no subsidies for growing vegetables.
5. They cause the production of inferior food because large farms usually focus on production, not nutrition.