Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Let's throw money at farmers

Column today in the NYT wants the government to "change subsidies" to encourage growing of fruits and vegetables, but I'm really not sure how the guy wants that to work. When I visited some vegetable farming operations in California, the farmers took pride in not receiving any subsidies, and they were going strong. In this age of budget cuts, if the powers that be manage to leave agricultural subsidies cold and dead on the ground, that would be great. No underpriced corn; no underpriced meat; no poor cotton growers in Africa or elsewhere priced out of the market by underpriced cotton, subsidized by the American taxpayer. Research (such as the USDA's ERS) and food safety systems should continue to be supported, perhaps by checkoffs (taxes on producers and perhaps processors) but billions can be cut from the budget in this area with impunity.

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