Sunday, November 11, 2007

New Farm Bill 'offers no reform at all'

At one time in the 1990s it seemed as if the USA might lead the way in reducing farm subsidies. Not any more. A new version of the US Farm Bill, just approved by the Senate's Agriculture Committee, has been attacked by acting US farm secretary, Chuck Conner. The long-awaited Senate version of the Bill, which follows one from the House of Representatives in August, provides plenty of goodies for American farmers for the next five years. For example, there would be a permanent $5bn 'disaster' fund.

Mr Conner said bluntly that the draft Bill offered 'no reform at all'. The lack of a meaningful cap on payments would allow millionaires to continue to participate in farm programmes. Just how widespread this practice is has been illustrated by our friends at CAP Health Check by superimposing the number of beneficiaries on a Google map of New York City. Other wealthy areas in cities like Los Angeles also contain their fair share of sofa farmers.

It's a story all too familiar in Europe: take away money from taxpayers and consumers on average incomes or less and give to wealthy landowners.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last paragraph is oh so true, and disheartening

4:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best way to ensure food security for European tax payers is to allow European tax payers to source their food from anywhere they so wish

4:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How does "decoupling" benefit European taxpayers and consumers?, If you pay subsidies to farmers without the need to produce food, surely this increases the cost to the consumers (ie. taxpayers) by reducing supply; add to this the great lengths to which farm lobby groups go to restrict food from outside the EU, in the guise of "consumer health interests"

5:00 AM  
Blogger Wyn Grant said...

Given current high arable crop prices, set aside land is being ploughed up, thus increasing supply. This does not, however, justify the payment of subsidies.

12:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

high crop prices should eliminate the excuse for subsidies

12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Set aside land maybe being ploughed, however does decoupling, the single farm payment mean that farmers still receive payments even if they do not produce food ? payments for doing nothing

12:33 PM  

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