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Farm Bill Introduction


Northern Star

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If naming bills by what most of their budget is spent on, the farm bill should be called the "Food Stamp Bill" as most of its spending is on the food stamp program and similar supplemental nutrition programs and programs like school lunches. Ever wonder why school lunches only cost a few dollars growing up? This is why. Locally the school lunches are about $6 with milk and fruit. The food itself costs alot more than that.

It is generally agreed that no matter who writes it, it is never good, it's always "OK" to "poor".

The farm bill is tied to the food stamp bill for one reason: so it will pass. Urban congress people would not vote for the farm bill and rural congress people would not vote for the food stamp bill, thus to get both to pass they were combined. Not ideal, because people look at the budget for that and see the "farm" part and think "those farmers are living off the government and getting rich" when we're not.

Most of the farm bill's aid to farmers comes in the form of subsidies for things like government owned and run crop insurance and government owned and run loan programs. No person in their right mind would run an insurance company for crops, there are way too many ways it can fail, and many insurance companies have tried and have failed due to a crop failure, such as drought or hail. We still have to pay a decent amount for said insurances and programs too. I can't really say how much it really pays for as there is no competition and most of the time the answer to "how much?" Is "this much" not "it was this much, but ther government takes this much off".

There is no provision for farmers getting checks just for existing.

The bill is mostly for grain farmers. There is very little for livestock and hay producers in it.

Now even though most programs are relatively easy to qualify for, there is alot of paperwork for every program, and there are alot of hoops to jump through to not be disqualified for. 

The farm bill exists for one reason: The Government uses food and agricultural products as its go to bargaining tool for just about everything. War? Embargo on food. Trade disagreement? Tariffs or embargo on grain. Country doing something suspicious? Embargo on grain and food. It is commonly believed, among us farmers, that if the government would quit using food as a bargaining tool on the world stage, there would be no need for a farm bill because there would be more stable and at least slightly higher markets as countries could depend on us to give them a quality and RELIABLE food supply, thus they would be willing to pay more and the markets would be a bit more resistant to political news.

The United States of America is not the only one who has a farm bill. Canada has one, not to the extent of the US and their marketing system is way different from us(pool, I will try to explain in a different post). European countries(mostly western and northern) actually subsidize their farmers a lot more than the US does and it shows. European countries also protect their farmers and agriculture markets alot more than the US does, to a point that we sometimes can not get close to competing with them.

Markets, unless noted otherwise here, means commodities markets like the Minneapolis Grain Exchange (MGEX), the Kansas City Board of Trade(KCBT), and the Chicago Board of Trade(CBOT).

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