The Farm Bill

June 7, 2012

Catfish inspection programs, subsidies to “farmers” in Manhattan, and more special interest items litter the farm bill in the Senate. In a time of government spending reduction across the board, the farm bill continues to be a contentious issue. With special interest groups lobbying members of Congress to include programs or subsidies that benefit their constituents, it is not a stretch to imagine how this bill grew beyond what it was intended to do.

The need for a farm safety net, coined as the originalpurpose for the bill after the Great Depression, still exists, but some items, such as crop insurance subsidies, are costing taxpayers exorbitant amounts of money for little gain. The bill considered by the Senate today will cost taxpayers $969 billion over the next 10 years, about a $23.6 cut. Savings come from eliminating fraud, prohibit certain lottery winners from receiving SNAP payments, prohibit payments for crops not produced, among other things.

Agriculture is one of the building blocks of our nation, and it deserves proper attention and support.  Programs such as the one mentioned in yesterday’s Wednesday Waste still exist in the farm bill.  Components like the catfish inspection program signify the overall problem with the bill itself: special interests, looking, looking out for their own pocketbooks.

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