Politics

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Farm Bill Provides Subsidies to the Wealthy, Too

November 12, 2007 10:00 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
On Oct. 25, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry agree to allocate $280 billion for agriculture, nutrition programs and farming subsidies; but some commentators question whether the money is being distributed fairly.

30-Second Summary

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The Farm Bill offers financial aid to farmers at a time when commodity prices for corn are rising, buoyed up by the booming ethanol industry.

But Time magazine presents another reason for probing how equitable U.S. farm subsidies are. It considers the possibility that the overproduction of subsidized crops will push down prices, making it harder for poor countries to compete on world markets.

This possibility was raised by Acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner. As reported in The Washington Post, Conner suggested that Farm Bill assistance will prompt complaints from the World Trade Organization, which may take legal action to defend farmers in the developing world.

Other opponents of the bill argue that small farms receive too little in subsidies, as the richest 10 percent of farmers enjoy the lion’s share of the available aid.

Proponents of the bill hail Congress for providing more assistance to farmers when crops fail.

The Bill will come before Senate in mid-November.

Headline Links: The Farm Bill

Background: The bill’s beneficiaries

Reactions: Acting Agriculture Secretary, North Platte Bulletin and Des Moines Register

Opinion & Analysis: U.S. farm subsidies and world markets

Reference Material: The farm bill beneficiaries

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