Farm welfare | Arkansas Blog

Farm welfare



The Washington Post has a long takeout that says new forces are coming together to change the farm subsidy system. Not if Rep. Marion Berry, the subsidized farmer, et al has anything to say about it. He's mentioned in passing.

Politicians such as [Iowa Gov. Tom] Vilsack have joined a host of interest groups from across the political spectrum that are pressing for changes in government assistance to agriculture. They want the money moved from large farmers to conservation, nutrition, rural development and energy research. Vilsack, for example, favors programs that improve environmental practices on farms.

Bread for the World, an anti-hunger organization, has brought religious leaders to Washington to lobby for cuts in subsidies, which they argue can lead to a glut on world markets that hurts poor farmers abroad. The Republican-leaning Club for Growth says subsidies stand in the way of a global trade deal that would help U.S. business. A politically potent coalition of unsubsidized fruit and vegetable growers from California and Florida want their share of the pie. Even the National Corn Growers Association, with 33,000 members, advocates an overhaul.

But these groups will be going up against one of Washington's most effective lobbies as Congress takes up a new farm bill next year.

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