For a long time, farmers have struggled under heavy overregulation from the federal government. Your support of Heritage, however, is helping lay the groundwork to lift these restrictions. By providing consistent commentary and insight on conservative agricultural policy, Heritage is working hard to make sure that farmers’ latest opportunity for relief doesn’t go to waste.

The House Agriculture Committee just passed a Farm Bill that will be going to the House floor for a vote next month, but it needs many revisions before conservatives can support it. 

Heritage’s senior research fellow Daren Bakst has written extensively on the topic of the farm bill. Earlier this April, he wrote an article in The Daily Signal calling for significant reforms for subsidies and regulations in the upcoming bill, pulling the federal government out of agriculture. Bakst also published both a commentary and a report on Heritage’s website this week, where he continues to highlight how the bill will need to respect the free market instead of artificially propping up select crops and allowing all farmers to compete freely in the marketplace.

The Farm Bill also includes revisions to the food stamp program that would encourage people who can work to work before they can receive government benefits. Heritage’s senior research fellow Robert Rector released a report on April 19 outlining the change the farm bill makes to the food stamp program. While he approves of the move towards increased work requirements for welfare, he does point out that the bill would need to be much clearer about what the requirements actually are, especially for adults with dependents.

President Kay Coles James also voiced her concerns about the Farm Bill in a statement released on Wednesday before the House Agriculture Committee’s hearing, highlighting the opportunity the bill has to make needed changes and encouraging discussions about how to make this bill ideal for farmers across America.

As the bill continues through the legislative process, Heritage will be watching closely to help present the most relevant policy and bring farmers relief.

What do you think are the best ways to get the government out of agriculture?

Comments (18)

Harv & Claudette Kuntz - April 28, 2018

The Government should protect our health, period. NOT have over regulation AND include the farmers & their organizations as to what is best when decisions are to be made.

Paul - April 28, 2018

Greatly rein in power of EPA
over farmable land
Reduce federal gas tax SUBSIDIE by 1 penny per year for 6-8 years to increase revenue for highway fund
Take food stamp program out of AG dept and put in Health & Human Services dept

John McTear - April 28, 2018

Doing away with the wasteful and environmentally counter-productive corn/ethanol program and its insane subsidies would be a good start.

William Coates - April 28, 2018

The power to regulate (or subsidize) is the power to destroy (or buy votes). Regulation is used to limit our food supply through marketing orders, sometimes used with political purposes. Subsidies promote the use of marginal land, causing erosion and fertilizer overuse particularly for corn and ethanol, which distort the motor fuel markets but buy votes in Iowa. These are examples of the things that should be ended. Since they are politically useful, Congress will not be willing to get out of agriculture until forced to by some sort of economic collapse – or voted out by educated voters.

Robert Abrams - April 28, 2018

Let the market dictate the price of agricultural products. Paying farmers and ranchers not to produce is just wrong. Paying farmers and ranchers to hold land in CRP just does not make sense. Welfare for the Ag industry should be abolished.
If it is not Ag, it should not be attached to this bill.

Al Darold - April 28, 2018

Farm subsidies need to be phased out as quickly as is reasonable – but the sooner the better. There is no reason for my tax dollars to go to a farmer (corporation, most likely,) for a crop they are not planting.
Also, the use of ethanol in gasoline is foolish for at least two reasons. The better use for corn/ethanol is for food. The second reason is that there is less energy in ethanol than in plain gasoline. The energy used to produce the ethanol is wasted because the ethanol dilutes the energy in gasoline when mixed in.

Bill & Karen Barton - April 28, 2018

The more subsidies we have for farmers, the more the government is involved, so reverse that and stop the subsidies and the government will gradually be out of the picture.

Carey Fussell - April 28, 2018

Small family farms should be exempt from regulations but continue to receive some level of assistance. However, there should be no subsidies for large farms or corporations.
Phase out the requirement for ethanol over the next 10 years. Ethanol has proven not to be economically viable after many years of support.

John Blake - April 28, 2018

I agree that we probably need to get the government out of agriculture. For sure, they should not be giving subsidies to large corporate farms, particularly those which grow toxic genetically modified (GM) crops, such as corn and soy (around 90% of the corn and soy grown in this country are GM), and also large factory farms which produce low quality meat. Government regulations should be reformed to promote and help small family farms, especially organic farms—which would help lower organic food prices. In view of the growing epidemic of chronic diseases in this country, we certainly need to work for a higher quality food supply. I’ve been around quite a few years (79) and when I was a kid we never heard of autism, alzheimer’s, etc., but now they are becoming epidemic. The fact is our low nutrition food supply is one of the chief causes of these diseases!
Also, the ethanol program should be ended. It makes no sense wasting our farmland to produce ethanol when gasoline is more efficient.

BAH - April 28, 2018

The family farmer can not compeat in commodies markets manipulaged by nations to accommodate their own ag economic programs. We produce food to feed the world but can not do it at a loss,. We have large costs of equipmet and real estate taxes, Each year our survival is subject to high risks from weather groath variables, natural disasters, fluctuating costs, and market manipulation. These Heriage articles seem to lack an understanding of how fa.ily farming works. It is not like industrial production by large multi national companies. Govt. cntrol is needed to keep farming a backbone of our world trade and food production. We are 4th generation farmers. I did not see agraculture in any of your authers bibliographies.

BOBBY E. RICHARDSON - April 28, 2018


Allen Ose - April 28, 2018

Close the Department of Agriculture. When did Americans ever need this department?

David Lopez - April 28, 2018

I have always been of the opinion of able bodies working before food stamps. Also on welfare–I am of the opinion of supplementing the financing. Set up a limit, if we set the monthly income at $2000.00 and they earn 1500– suplement the other 500

Malcolm Powell, M.D. - April 28, 2018

How to get the government out of agriculture? Recruit a farmer with executive experience as an adviser to the House Agriculture Committee, eg. Senator Joni Ernst, and ask the adviser to review all the suggestions that farmers and their organizations provide. The adviser would be asked to identify all the obviously valid ideas, also others that should be further reviewed for feasibility. A Senator formally advising the House on doing somethings- the idea appeals!

Pete McEntee - April 28, 2018

I don’t believe there should be farm subsidies at all for anyone, including the small family farmer. If he cannot compete in the marketplace, he needs to find another line of work. The federal government needs to get out of the agricultural business entirely. Doing that politically, of course, will be very difficult.

nate brinkman - April 28, 2018

the gov’t should start by getting rid of the ethanol mandate. it was a bad idea from the start

Anthony Landry - April 30, 2018

We don’t need the same so called clean diesel truck use on the highways in the fields. Farmers can us a cheaper diesel which would cost a lot less and the farm tractors would cost a lot less. Washington, farmers are the one putting the food on the table American eat, the less it cost for them to give you that food the less it will cost for us, Americans, to buy it.

Nancy Moser - April 30, 2018

Ethanol replaced MTBE as an oxygenate to help gasoline burn more cleanly and produce fewer pollutants.
Byproduct of ethanol production dry distillers grain (ddg) is an excellent livestock feed. If you don’t want to support the family farmer, fine, but don’t complain about corporate farms because they wil take over.

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