by Ben Nuelle LISTEN: money-matters-10-10-16
Could farmers today survive without the help of government subsidies? One Ag policy fellow in Washington, DC seems to think so.
There is already talk of getting started on the 2018 Farm Bill.
Last month, the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, DC, released a free market alternative to the farm bill.
Daren Bakst is a research fellow in Agriculture Policy at the Heritage Foundation.
“One of the first things we did, we didn’t just jump right into looking at the subsidy programs. We wanted to ask certain fundamental questions such as why do these programs exist in the first place. Is the risk agriculture producers face, is it something where government intervention is necessary but not necessary with other businesses? If so, why? As we looked at it, we didn’t think this risk was much different than compared to other businesses.”
One of their suggestions in the report is to move away from government subsidies.
“There seems to be this lack of faith in American farmers and ranchers. This idea that if you touch these over generous subsidies that they won’t succeed, well there still going to have a safety net and honestly they are the most innovative and sophisticated farmers in the world and already have great ways to manage risk without the subsidies. They don’t need government support in order to succeed.”
Bakst adds they encourage producers to manage risk on private means rather than relying on government. He says Heritage’s vision is not just about subsides but freedom from government intervention and putting faith in farmers.