Subsidizing Whom?

"It has become relatively accepted that the current system of subsidies aren't working and the 2004 WTO ruling against American cotton subsidies has provided an additional impetus for reform, but there's no easy way of fixing the system. Analysts say that simply eliminating agricultural subsidies all together would encourage further production and drive prices down even lower."
-Alina Hoffman-

The United States Department of Agriculture has made recommendations for the 2007 Farm Bill (renewed every five years) and has commenced presenting recommendations to Congress. Providing over $4 billion over the next five years, the bulk of which is devoted to agricultural subsidies for producers of only a few major cash crops (90 percent goes toward corn, cotton, wheat, rice and soybean production), the subsidies have become, as Hoffman writes, "an incentive to overproduce the subsidized crops, thus raising supply and further driving down price, to the detriment of smaller farms that can't compete." Read more of her article, "Debating the Farm Bill".

For a comparative look, take a look at what FarmSubsidy.org is doing to investigate where the European Union Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) farm subsidies are being spent. As in the United States, the budgets under CAP are huge (in 2005 farm subsidies comprised nearly half of the entire EU budget) but opaque, with little information publicly available. As FarmSubsidy.org co-founder Jack Thurston contends: "For too long people have been misled to believe that farm subsidies are about protecting small and family farms. This data shows conclusively that most of the money goes to large agribusiness and wealthy landowners."
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