THE WESTERNER sez:
Wilmeth is right on the issue of government involvement in farming, primarily through subsidies and regulations.
The feds subsidize crop production to the tune of between $10 billion and $30 billion per year, depending on market prices, disaster payments, etc. Then you add an additional $5 billion annually for statistics, research, education and marketing support.
And the end result of all this expenditure?
This analysis sums it up nicely:
The extent of federal micromanagement of the agriculture sector is probably unique in American industry. In most industries, market prices balance supply and demand, profit levels signal investment opportunities, market downturns lead to cost cutting, and entrepreneurs innovate to provide better products at lower prices. All of those market mechanisms are blunted or nonexistent in government-controlled agriculture markets. As a result, federal agricultural policies produce substantial “deadweight losses” and reduced U.S. incomes.Regulations? Surely there aren't that many on agriculture. Oh yes, there are mucho reg's. In fact, in the fine print of the Code of Federal Regulations there are 10,270 pages of them. And that was in 2009 - no telling how many pages have been added since then.
Farm programs result in overproduction, overuse of marginal farmland, and land price inflation, which results from subsidies being capitalized into land values. Subsidy programs create less efficient planting, induce excess borrowing by farmers, cause insufficient attention to cost control, and result in less market innovation. And policies often work against the claimed goals of Congress. As an example, while members of Congress say that they support small farms, owners of large farms receive the largest subsidies, which has given them the financing they need to purchase smaller farms.23
Let's not forget USDA is the agency which provides food stamps to those who cannot afford food, while at the same time issuing import barriers and supply restriction programs to keep commodity prices up.
Government planning at it's best.
Robust horizons? Not while the feds infest our farming enterprises. All they produce is a robust bureaucracy.