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Issues > Free Markets > Agriculture



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American agriculture policy no longer meets the needs of the modern farming and ranching industries. Today’s agricultural sector is prosperous, innovative, and dominated by large operations. Despite this reality, agriculture policy is still based on 1930’s principles that favor central planning over the free market, and shower subsidies on favored producers who should instead be competing on the same basis as other sectors of the economy.

At the same time subsidies for agriculture are removed, government policies that hinder farmers and ranchers while providing little if any benefit should be repealed. These include environmental regulation and barriers to trade.

Some of the specific policies that should be pursued include ending all direct payments to farmers and ranchers, as well as subsidies for crop insurance programs. Programs that try to manipulate demand, such as the milk compact, should be ended. Mandatory labeling of foods containing genetically-modified organisms or that has been irradiated for safety should be rejected, leaving producers who avoid these technologies to promote their own products as they wish.

The federal government also runs a number of programs through the Department of Agriculture that are aimed at providing funding for various rural development programs, such as the Rural Utilities Service and the Rural Business-Cooperative Service, as well as the Essential Air Service program in the Department of Transportation. All of these should be eliminated.

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