Farm Subsidies on the Chopping Block

As the deficit debate heats up in Congress, farm subsidies remain targeted by both Democrats and Republicans. Several weeks ago, the Obama administration, as part of an effort to reduce deficit spending, proposed lowering and eliminating certain farm subsidies. The White House “Deficit Panel” made it clear that they were considering cuts to any item in the federal budget, including agricultural subsidies and support.

Following on the heels of Obama’s statements, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) both signaled their willingness to trim farm subsidies. In a recent statement, Reid cited commodity prices as part of his justification to reduce subsidies. “Commodity prices… have never been higher… there’s money there,” Reid stated earlier this week. In an interview last week, Boehner was equally direct about his support for cutting farm subsidies, stating point blank in an interview that he was willing to remove them in the latest Farm Bill. Boehner voted against both the 2002 and the 2008 Farm Bills.

Others are less flippant about removing subsidies, arguing that agriculture’s fickle nature could easily drive many farmers out of business. Citing changing weather patterns and several agricultural disasters declared across the country over the last year, many farm lobbyists argue that removing subsidies could be disastrous to the agricultural industry. Others argued that agricultural spending currently makes up only a tiny fraction of overall federal spending.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer