Many provisions of the current farm bill will expire at the end of September. It is estimated to have cost Americans $284 billion over the last five years.

Most programs in the farm bill were established during the Depression-era and they have not changed as our agricultural landscape has changed. Through various farm subsidies, the burden of agricultural risk is placed on taxpayers. Heritage Foundation policy expert Diane Katz says “Americans are taking a double hit:  Tax revenues are used to subsidize producers, and production limits raise the cost of products.”

The number and size of farms has dramatically changed since the depression-era as well:

The number of farms has dramatically changed, decreasing from a peak of 6.8 million in 1935 to 2.2 million in 2010. During that same period, however, the amount of land in farms declined by less than 13 percent. Taken together, the two trends reflect fewer, but larger, farms. Indeed, the number of farms with more than 1,000 acres increased by 14 percent between 1982 and 2002. In the same period, farms with 50 to 1,000 acres declined by about 17 percent.

These trends are important to note because they directly affect agriculture policy. Because the distribution of subsidies is largely influenced by the volume of farm production, larger farms are receiving a larger proportion of the payouts.

The current farm bill legislation also distorts the food market, artificially inflating food prices by limiting the quantity farmers are legally able to produce.

There is no doubt that farmers face risks in their job but there is no such thing as zero risk in entrepreneurial ventures. Katz argues “to the extent that Congress artificially shields some farmers from the reality of their occupation, they are more likely to take bigger risks running their farms.”

Overall, the farm bill burdens taxpayers, increases the cost of food, and keeps farmers from producing to their potential. Read more of Katz’s ideas on how Congress should address the Farm Bill.

Do you think the programs in the farm bill should have been updated during the last 79 years?

Comments (93)

William Harden - June 12, 2012

Government needs to get out of the way, and let the Free Market dictate, risks that farmers take don’t need to be subsidized by the American Tax Payers. After all January 1st at this point American Tax Payers are looking at a tax increase already. The sad part of it is, Farmers and others that receive subsides probably wouldn’t know how to cope if they were not receiving Government money. The time is now and stoping it all needs to start now.

Norma Thompson - June 13, 2012

Why are people subsidizing large farms? Because they hire lobbyists to make sure that this law passed during the depression does not change. Maybe if all lawyers and lobbyists were banned from D.C., we would be better off.

Greg Landon - June 14, 2012

Well said Kelly. Farmers should assume the risk for their business just like any other business owner. Government should get out of the way and let growers produce to their best potential. These depression era laws need to be revamped from top to bottom, Keep up the good work.

Roland Rosenbaum - June 15, 2012

I am a retired farmer. The farm program does nothing but give additional money to the larger farmers to expand more.
The last several years with the good corn and soybean prices should be enough without the government paying them to farm! I have been retired for twenty years the last year of my active farming 20 years ago I got a payment from the Farm service I did not even know what for.

Ken Marx - June 15, 2012

Back in the early fifties, my rancher uncle complained about “being paid not to grow things.” Like all liberal “fixes,” to perceived problems, this depression era program has been of minimal value for the citizens of the United States. For many years, the bulk of the money has gone, not to small farmers, but rather, to large corporate holding companies that really don’t need the support. It should be ended immediately.

Jim Squires - June 15, 2012

The public is lead to believe that farming is very profitable and something that anyone can do. Unfortunately that is far from the truth. Commodities are priced at, or below the cost of production. To survive this, farmers need to find other niche markets, provide hunting and guiding services or some other creative income streams just to feed the American people. Subsidies kept many producers like me producing food for the 40 years I farmed.

Dewey Switzer - June 15, 2012

All subsidies should be modified or eliminated.
Another example of government picking winners or losers.
Limits on production of food grains should be eliminated.
What we do not need can be exported to poor nations or sold for profit. Let the market decide.

Ralph Litten - June 15, 2012

Much like the tax code the Agricutural system needs to be scrapped completely. Why do we subsidize tobacco farmers and turn around and tax the H out of cigarettes!

ROBERT GREENBERG - June 15, 2012



Fran - June 15, 2012

Absolutely….farming has changed tremendously in the last 79 years. Our government should update, and get out of the farming business.

Delmer and Sandra Dau - June 15, 2012

We certainly don’t need to be subsidizing farmers anymore. They are laughing all the way to the bank. We in construction don’t receive any subsidies and weather impacts us too. We have to insure our own risks and also pay all the unemployment taxes, which have raised considerably under this administration.

Lee Burns - June 15, 2012

There is no questiion that subsidies for the mass producers needs to be eliminated. The many programs that support small farmers need to be revised also. The very idea that subsidies for NOT raising crops (weed control regulations, etc.) is wrong. Responsible revision of subsidies including farm acreage taxing is necessary.

Patty Patten - June 15, 2012


James V. Burnette - June 15, 2012

“The Food Chain” In the forties and fifties the majority of the grocery stores were small independent stores. They bought directly from local farmers for their fruits, vegetables, milk and meats. Chain grocery stores came along putting thousands of independents our of business. At the same time the large grocery stores started buying their food products in large quanities killing the local farmers markets. The big fish ate the small fish and the small fish died off. The larger the growers and producers grew the more power they had and the more they could munipulate the markets. The farm subsidies just helped the big farmers get bigger. What we have today is big government working hand in hand with big farmers to control food production and therefore food cost. Now, to keep food prices low and compitition out of reach for small farmers they are importing tons of foods from other countries. I cannot think of one single thing that the government is in charge of that is being done efficiently and is being done for the benefit of the people.

Rex Talmage - June 15, 2012

Totally eliminate the support of any and all farms and/or businesses. If the farm or business owner cannot make his venture profitable, he should go get a different kind of job, just like the rest of us!!

Verlin Burkey - June 15, 2012

Receiving government subsidy is like getting paid for failure. Get rid of regulations and if a business can’t make on its own let it fail,

R W Lemke - June 15, 2012

Seems like the subsidy was created to insure there would be somebody there “next time” we needed somebody. The giants (1000A +) should thru efficiency of scale be able to take care of themselves. Perhaps the little guy (1000A -) could still use the subsidy until he learned how (or where) to farm.

Marie Barney - June 15, 2012

I have owned farmland twice in my life, but never signed up for the “farm bill”. My renters did not like this, but I didn’t want to be told what could be planted in my fields. The renters saw it as a great hand out – getting paid “not to plant”.
Now it is a great thing for all the huge commercial farms and they are ruining our wonderful cropland.
Time for Free Market farming again.

Margaret Szymkowski - June 15, 2012

We really feel like these programs start and then they never end. Most of them go against the constitution and should never have been started. We know a farmer who brags how he has managed not to show a profit so he can get government aid. They pay him not to farm his land. This doesn’t make any sense to us.
Margaret & Jordan Szymkowski

P. Harris - June 15, 2012

The more government sticks their nose into private business the more hands are in the cookie jar. The law definitely needs updated.

Leon Macha - June 15, 2012

I own small acreage farm land and have benefited in small ways from various subsidies. BUT, I agree that the programs need to be revamped to protect the family farmers and the public from the production and income regularities caused by natural disasters of drought, storms, pest attacks, world market fluctuations, etc. I have recently received documents from USDA that indicate a cutback in payments to large farm operators. Not sure that these changes have been carried far enough. Remember that farming is mostly a one production cycle per year enterprise. An ‘off year’ for income is disastrous for the family farmer. Most must operate on borrowed money and the bank is not inclined to smile and wait for the next productive year that may or may not happen. Agriculture is a risky business that can be rewarding, but often is subsistence only. The Farm Bill’s primary purpose should be to contribute to smooth, year-to-year production cycles, enabling farmers to rebound from disasters.

Alan - June 15, 2012

@Kelly – Excellent, these are the type of percentages our Liberty groups need in our battle with government over the out of control Agra-Corps.
@Norma – There is a place for lawyers and lobbyists; at ther bottom of the ocean, a good start.
Let alone that fact that our government has been complicit in robbing the American People of their wealth through extortion, namely: eminient domain! These big government cronies handed our private property rights over to corporate America and the international banking cartel through eminent domain. If the American People won’t seel their land to the corporate shills, then we’ll empower the government to step in and take their possessions and give it to the corporate NAZIs/Thugs. Another groups complicit in this thievery are the Unions. The Unions didn’t help anyone retain their private property, ever. All these groups end up back at our doorstep wanting bailouts as “Protected” classes. I still don’t get OWS, they shill about corporate bankers and wall street all the while paying the real rats in DC no mind. Unbelievable.

Richard H. Schulze - June 15, 2012

The national high school debate topic in 1948-9 was “Should the “parity price” approach for stabilizing farm incomes be ended”? I grew up on a vegetable farm near Buffalo, NY, that was never the beneficiary of price supports or limits on production. I failed 64 years ago to understand why farmers had to be subsidized. Today I’m still puzzled why any farmer would want regulation or subsidy by the US Government. I generally won the debates in the affirmative and generally lost those in the negative. (My bias showed through)

Lois - June 15, 2012

Please read the book “Ill Fares the Land” by Dan Van Gorder

Be prepared, this book will make you sick, literally. The reason farmers are getting subsidies is the manipulation by the government. They won’t allow the farmers to grow, and won’t give them prices that they can afford to stay above board. The government is systematically wanting to take the farmland from the farmers. You know what the communist manifesto says…they want no private property.

Our silos are being emptied.

Read the book….

Eustace R. Lake - June 15, 2012

We own a farm in Iowa which we share crop with the farmer that farms the ground for us. I cannot speak for the large farmer as we have only 160 acres mostly corn and beans.
Our share cropper has around 800 acres that he farms.
I can tell you that eccept for the past two years you would not have wanted to be a farmer. I really believe you are clueless.or are looking at numbers from much larger farms. My business that I have retired from was industrial machine tool sales. Considering the investments involved in both busnisses, the sales business is far and away more profitable.

Walker Uhlhorn - June 15, 2012

Free Enterprise does not allow any support of business in any fashion. All government involvement through loans, favors, owning businesses such as credit unions or TVA are not Free Enterprise. Sports Franchises that receive help from a city are not Free Enterprise. The list goes on…This is welfare for the Right.
Welfare for the Left through 501(c)3 non profits is also a great place to make budget cuts. We have 1.8 million non profits that receive 5 percent of our budget and employ 10 % of our workforce. If you think my numbers are wrong, check with GuideStar. They take all of the non profit tax returns and keep records of non profits by local area and the amount of money they receive.

Donna Lewis - June 15, 2012

I think that with all the changes over a period of 79 years that the policy on subsidizing should be reviewed and changed if necessary.

Jack Carson Pickard - June 15, 2012

I would argue the same logic when it comes to our dependency on the Department of Defence. We use subsidies to protect defence contractors. At least Farmers do feed us and until their is Insurance to protect Farmers from catastophic events the reason for their subsidy is at least somewhat obvious. I am a farmer and have never taken a penny from government subsidies. I don’t believe this writter gets it though! So I say fine take away subsidies from farmers and all Defense Contractors must go to low bidder status to wind contracts and all current contracts must be cut 50% and all future Defense Contracts must decline by 5 % a year over the next 5 years, do both of these and I will guarantee you we will loose 75% of our farming output and 75% of our Defense capabilities, so we will be a passive country unable to feed ourselves much less the rest of the world and probably won’t be able to defend ourselves from outside aggression (China, EU, UN etc…)

Joe Berger - June 15, 2012

Farm subsidies while originally well intentioned, have became nothing more than corporate welfare for any who can game the system, whether or not their primary income is derived from farming. You have only to look at the subsidy roster and see that many who receive a 40K annual subsidy on their owned or leased 240 acres, have little or nothing to do with putting themselves at risk by having crop failures, poor yields or a decline in the market prices for their crops.
Show me where in the U.S. Constitution there are provisions for this kind of political pandering with the taxpayers dime, propping up any special interest group?

Hauptman - June 15, 2012

The Goverment needs to get out of the business of business and pay attention to what it is supposed to do under the Constution. We are giving $ to people for betting on a “sure thing”. The program is plain stupid.

Rick - June 15, 2012

The program was originally developed to help family farms, it is absolutely ludicrous for corporate farms to receive these subsidies. I am a small farmer and all I want from the government is for them to leave me alone and get out of my way.

John Stair - June 15, 2012

Absolutely! Failure to rationaly and appropriately address these changes reflects a continued laziness and incompetence by our Congress to show diligence in frugal governance. I know. That is a pipe dream! And so is the continued solvency of our nation due to such legilative neglect,

Shari Mildon - June 15, 2012

As with all government programs, this should be looked at and updated periodically. I spent many summers in the late 40’s and 50’s on my uncles farm, and remember him complaining that he “couldn’t grow the crops he wanted” because he was paid more not to.

Donald Baker - June 15, 2012

Government out-of-control. Always a new revelation of waste, fraud and abuse! Is there no end? If government is involved, it is always a mess!

Truman Trekell - June 15, 2012

These bills need to be updated on a regular basis to prevent exactly what is happening with the Farm bill. The taxpayers are already inundated with taxes that previously were necessary, but now are boondoggles.
We must encourage our representatives to stop supporting such ENTITLEMENTS (these are just like welfare. People get so used to getting them, they begin
to feel it is part of their income).

Leland Widick - June 15, 2012

Subsidies are not always a bad thing. However, having said that, I think the farm bill should be revisited to bring it into line with modern agricultral challenges. Consider removing production limits while continuing to provide REASONABLE protection for the SMALL U.S. farmer. I’m tired of letting the rest of the world use their governmental subsidies at the expense of U.S. Industry. Keep administration of this program at the local level and please, PLEASE simplify administrative requirements.

Jacques Bakke - June 15, 2012

We have been subsidizing Television Programing for years. Trash programs, evil programs silly programs have all been bundled along with good programs and those we want. It stands to reason why the farmers (who actually no longer exist) have been subsidized since the depression. And we all know the depression lasted longer than it should have.
People are people and if you hand out Pork the begin to depend on it, learn to love it and eventually demand it. This is why Social Security has lasted so long and apparently become popular.. We need to be weened and the same is true of Farm subsidies for Big Agra, which beget the entire Farm Industry—Equipment, Chemicals and all. They have a lobby that is almost as dangerous as the Arab lobby.
Why can’t we end the Pork? Why can’t we end the Direct Taxation system? Why can’t we end Fractional Reserve Banking? Why can’t we end Fiat Money? Why can’t we get rid of the Federal Reserve (neither federal nor does it have any reserves)? Why can’t we get rid of the United Nations? Why can’t we rescind George Soros citizenship, which was falsely obtained (Came to America to escape Communism when in fact he is a Communist)? Why can’t we get rid of Eric Holder and all of the other gangsters in Washington? Why are the majority of programs in Washington designed to be ripped off? Why can’t the ripper offers be taken to task?

Jacques Bakke - June 15, 2012

Heard a great idea from Rushmo the other day— which I intend to do– Read the Declaration of Independence to my grandkids this year before allowing so much as a sparkler to be lit on the 4th of July.

Casey Carlton - June 15, 2012

Why not update farm policy? After all, other things have changed (autos, aircraft, and we even have computers). We need most of all to get the federal government out of having anything to do with farming. Period!

Richard Gaskill - June 15, 2012

Subsidizing any agricltural farming is a ball and chain on our farmers, on the amount they can grow,at an unreal cost to the tax payer.Just think,if our farmers could farm “and” harvest ALL the farn lands here in America,we could feed the world,and at a lower cost,and still the farmer could make a profit,IF the goverment would just get out of the way.

Anna Lee Earnest - June 15, 2012

I think the government needs to review a lot of their bills that have been on the books for a long time, because they are outdated.

Curt - June 15, 2012

Don’t fix it, eliminate it!

john - June 15, 2012

yes, farmers with less than 1,000 acres should get some kind of assistance. large farms owned by corporations should have the wear with all to manage their farms without any subsidies. why pay someone to not plant food?????

Gloria Settle - June 15, 2012

We need to get rid of all farm subsidy programs!! They do not help the little farmer – only the large conglomerates!

Allen Buikema - June 15, 2012

You do realize that 75% of the ag budget goes to food stamp recipients?

Robert Smith - June 15, 2012

I am a farmer. I note that the blast against agriculture fails to note: 1. Only dairy programs exceed the total of food stamps and nutrition. For agriculture to be charged with those two huge charity programs as well as oversees nutrition etc warps the message as so much “reporting” these days does. Any truth is so twisted in the “news” that it is very hard to really find the truth. I AM ASHAMED OF HERITAGE FOR CALLING THIS TRUE REPORTING.
I do believe the ag programs are: FIRST badly written so people can get around guidelines as to who is a farmer, etc. SECOND: the many programs are to buy votes out in the country. THIRD: I have owned several small businesses and understand risk but my risk as a farmer exceeds most of them and with a subject of secure food supply the matter of available insurance is needed.

ONLY 2 programs seem to be necessary for that protection: Economic and ecology:
economic can be handled with a useable/workable insurance program that is so big it MAY require government backing
ecology means keeping the soil in place and not in the streams and the CRP program is quite effective. It certainly could be better structured and accomplish more at less cost but it has worked.

This is my opinion — from a farming farmer — not “news” written to shock people and might not get many votes for congressmen competing with congressmen who “bring home the bacon”. WE CERTAINLY NEED LESS GOVERNMENT AND LESS GOVERNMENT SPENDING.

Robert L.Smith Sr. Heritage member

William Mathews - June 15, 2012

Farmers should not be subsidized by the tax payer.

Dean G.Newman - June 15, 2012

Some aspects of the farm bills were promulgated when most farms were “family farms.” It never made sense to real farmers to be paid for not growing product on parts of the farm. The tone of any farm legislation needs to reflect the nature of today’s farm industry. Will it happen? Probably not because such programs tend to hang around ’cause Washington is afraid to start over each year. It can be likened to the fear and failure to require “zero budgeting” for federal programs.

Betina Shreve - June 15, 2012

The farm bill helped to create the coroporate farms, shutting out the individual farmer. The farm bill needed to be addressed years, no, decades ago! The large farms now eat up most of the money inthe bill leaving the small farms with nothing to count on.

Oscar Brown - June 15, 2012

Perhaps we sghould retroactively return congress’ pay to where it was 79 years ago. Do they work at being stupid, or does it come naturally? You have to wonder.

Sally Jardon - June 15, 2012

We need to look at all of our subsidies. This one and all of the others. Lobbiest are selling us down the river and our representatives are buying votes with them. Additionally, we need to really look at the money we are sending to other countries. How can we say we can’t find the money to support Medicare, social security, and the military when we are throwing so much away?

Charlotte Guyaux - June 15, 2012

The Government has needed to review and overhaul ALL subsidizes a long time ago. Review and overhaul will show the serious affect subsidizes have had on the taxpayers. Taking from the taxpayer and giving to the farmer makes for greed at the expense of the other.

Lets do it!

Charlotte Guyaux

William Pierce - June 15, 2012

Eliminate the dept.of agi

Tonie - June 16, 2012

Yes, the farm bill programs should have been updated in the last 79 years. We need to look at who gets the subsidies today; big agricultural organizations or small family farms.

I do not think big lobbying farms should get the subsidies meant for (79 years ago) small family farms.

Darlene Harder - June 16, 2012

I own a small amount of ND farm land. According to my brother the farmer, farmers in ND are swimming in money. It is time to stop government handouts to farmers. My farm rental income a has gone up 25% in the last few years. Let the free market determine prices. Let us take care of America for a change.

Brenda Stanway - June 16, 2012

The government should not be subsidizing the farm industry, expcept possibly during times of declared war. But most important is getting rid of federal control of this industry, farmers know more about farming, let them do their life work and let them leave their farms to the kids!!! We need to limit lobbyists. They may be citizens, but they are citizens that are looting the country.

Lee VanRuler - June 16, 2012

The ‘revamping’ of the Farm Bill has been occuring regularly over the last 79 years – not always in the farmers’ best interest! 75% (+-) of the Farm Bill is used for FOOD STAMPS, CHILD NUTRITION, etc. Look specifically at the Farm Bill – and you will understand that the ‘food program’ is more than a lot of welfare for farmers. It just happens to be another name for welfare – but it is primarily non-farmers who benefit the most!

David Smith - June 16, 2012

I would venture to guess a lot of these subsidies are nothing more then a slush fund being laundered back through high paid lobbyist to democrats and liberal Republicans. All these old and new social welfare programs are for that purpose; that’s why government should be completely gutted.

John Hageman - June 16, 2012

As an owner of three farms, what I would propose would be to my detriment, but all farm subsidies should be eliminated

Terri - June 16, 2012

They should have been eliminated not updated.

Dorothy DeWeese - June 16, 2012

Most of the money in the department is spent for food for food stamps and other programs for individuls. The amount that goes to farmers is small compared to what is given to others.

Lawrence Wical - June 16, 2012

It is time, long overdue, to have farming competing in the free market instead of receiving subsidies.. What on earth was the government thinking. Oh that’s right we had a liberal sponsered Congress then and subsidies are always the answer.. Shameful.

Terance Logsdon - June 16, 2012

As a young farm lad in the 40’s-60’s, I worked closely with my Father as we farmed 1280+ irrigated acres in the Texas Panhandle.. We employed 3+ families fulltime. My Father was a man who started a farm family in the Depression. My Father, and the majority of his peers, felt the Farm Industry would be better served if the Fed. Govt. GOT OUT of the Farm Industry. “It would be hard at first, but as water eventually levels out, so would Farming. Subsidizing Farmers to raise certain crops, and the use of allotments is WRONG. This drives up Costs for Everyone.. If a crop won’t pay for itself, don’t farm it. If you aren’t a good farmer, be a good something else.” I have Degrees in Economics/Business; 70 yrs.of age and Daddy WAS RIGHT. “Subsidizing Tobacco and Sugar Alottments and paying to put land to non-use is 3 of the dumbest, immoral crimes against the Purchasing Public.” T. B. Logsdon

ROBERT MATHEWS - June 16, 2012

It is time for government to get out of 95 % of the things it is involved it. Let the free market dictate who wins and who looses. Lets also turn back the Cargo ships from China and the vegetable trucks from Mexico. Doesn”t it make sence that we have shipped millions of jobs overseas and wonder why we have high unemployment. Lets bring the jobs back and then tell our worthless members of our society, “no work, no eat. If they don’t like it give them a one way ticket to a third world country and see how they like that!

Scott Douglass - June 16, 2012

Congressman Marlin Stutzman, Indiana 3rd district, has a couple bills before the House of Reps to address some of these issues. Both bills have some support there, but who knows if Harry Reid would allow them to proceed through the Senate if they passed the House without watering them down to the point of being meaningless. They bills are H.R 3111, the REFRESH act, and H.R. 1104, the Representation for Farmers Act, which deals with EPA’s regulatory impact on farmers. Where does Heritage stand on these 2 bills before the House after evaluating the language of these 2 bills?

Gaylon Boger - June 16, 2012

Farming definitely needs to be more free market.
What I find interesting is whenever I read articles about the farm bill from nonag sources the part of the bill that is the largest (food stamps) doesn’t get mentioned or just barely.

SP4HOFF - June 16, 2012

There have been modest attempts to “reform”, e.g. moving from only high price supports and allotments for “basic commodities” to base support and direct payments for a portion of some crops. But the basic problem remains. And don’t overlook the effect of govenment subsidy of ethanol on corn/livestock prices. With ethanol use accounting for nearly 1/2 of he crop this is a MAJOR, MAJOR distortion.

don herrold - June 16, 2012

Republicans are as guilty as the Progressive Communist Socialist Marxist’s.
We all want the Fed’s to stop spending but it needs to start with the Governors and the State Legislators to rally and say NO. AND- these Progressive Local Governments have become as dangerous to our Soverneignty as the Fed’s! Pay attention to your Mayors and City Councils. Tell yur States to STOP taking the damn money.

Mark Hawthorne - June 16, 2012

I think we would be far better off if the government got out of the farm business and into fertilizer production as everything they touch eventually turns into it.

Dee - June 16, 2012

You bet I do. If it were small farms I might see it but big farms no. Not only do they get subsidies to farm they get subsidies not to farm.

Dan Richards - June 17, 2012

I know property owners, that were once farmers, that have been paid thousand of dollars every year Not To Plant crops on their farms. The amount they are paid every year is more then what they would make if they planted their crops. This has been going on for 40 years. WHY? This makes absolutely no since. Put the farms to work bring down the price of their produce.
Why do we pay them not to work?

K. Hunter - June 17, 2012

There should be no farm subsidies, period, end of sentence, end of story. If a farm cannot produe enough to support the farmer then it is a failure and its resources ought to be reallocated by the market to profitable enterprises. In that way both the farmer and the consumer are better served by those resources. While the farmer will suffer the worst effects of reallocation his labor, which in the end is his most valuable resource, will also be reallocated to a more profitable field if he is willing. So to speak, no pun intended.

Ortrud - June 17, 2012

I hope people are paying attention to the comments made by older or retired farmers. Think about it. Which is easier to control many little things or one large thing? YOU must watch the actions and votes of the people you put in office and stop making politics something to be discussed behind closed doors. WE need the courage of our Founding Fathers and, as they did, pledge our Lives, our Fortunes and our Sacred Honor to taking back our country. The responsibility is ours and for too long we have dropped the ball voting by name recognition not responsible research. I agree, don’t fix it eliminate it.

Elizabeth Griessel - June 17, 2012

I believe giving farmers money not to grow crops should be stopped. Or at least re-evaluated.

Chuck - June 17, 2012

In Indiana we just voted out lugar after 35 years of (he has a family farm) voting for subsidies, and has not even had a residence here since the 70.s, an establishment politician, good ridence to the incumbents

David Cook - June 17, 2012

I live in farm country and see thousands of acres dormant. The government has been unjustly deciding the prices of our food at the stores. It is time for the government to remove itself from this aspect of our lives. Let the free markets reign. Hopefully, with the November election, this will change and EPA can be removed from not only the farmers but the rest of us also.

Pamela Marino - June 17, 2012

It seems this is another avenue for American taxpayer’s monies to be gjven away to those who do not deserve help. Isn’t it time to stop the drain on the economy?? This is a good place to eliminate waste. Crush the Farm Bill!

C Hersch - June 17, 2012

Free market works for me!

Dale Huebner - June 17, 2012

Yes, the whole farm subsidy thing needs to be re-evaluated. $56 Billion a year is ridiculous. Maaaybe small farms need a “safety net” ; but big farms? NO.
Also, where does the ETHANOL subsidy come in? That is also helping to artificially increase corn and other food prices that hurt the poorest people all over the world.

Deanna Dyksterhuis - June 18, 2012

For the record: Not all crops receive subsidies; only about 12 major commodities. In exchange for eliminating the farm programs and subsidies (there are many and they are complex), we should respect private property ownership and respect the freedom of farms to manage their land without the onerous rules and regulations of gov. agencies such as EPA, OSHA, Labor, etc. We farmed 45 years for the free market. Received NO subsidies and participated in NO farm programs even tho eligible and made our entire living (a good one) farming. Government should not be in the business of choosing winners and losers; nor granting any kind of subsidy or loan to ANY BUSINESS.

Delbert Svhafer - June 18, 2012

I am not a eloquent writer. It seems most of the people don’t know or don’t care where there food comes from to feed there fat belles. Taking all government programs into condsideration, the farm program is a very very small cost to the many other wastefull ways are tax dollars are spent. If it were not for food production in this country do you have any idea what our balance of trade would be with other countries. Don’t have the figures in my head but if you think I am wrong I’m sure you can find them somewhere here on the WWW.
Having said all of this I agree the Farm Program has been long outdated. But there has been years back when I struggled as a farmer to keep afloat. During the grain embargo (Gov. inflicted) and during the farm resession in the early 80s. At this time if you do your homework the farmers are not asking for a handout. All they want is the Insurance Program to protect against crop failure do to weather and disaster. Not failure do to their mismanagement. The biggest problem with the proposals on the new bill now being disscused is all the crap the polticians want to tack on to the bill. Things that have nothing to do with farming. Just like the food given out by the wellfare system is tacked to a farm program. It’s about time we insist our goverment call a spade a spade. and pass bills with one agenda. No Pork Barrel! And/Or Line item Veto.

Teresa Jackson - June 18, 2012

Where does America think it is going to get its food and by-products if we don’t protect our farmers? We are not able to support our supply and demand now. After last years drought in the Western states and the loss of cattle and production farms and now we are facing the largest drought since 1988 in the MidWest, what are your suggestions? Food prices will soar for the consumer. More imported goods will arrive with less federal regulations. And, small farmers like us will be gone.

Sally Galias - June 18, 2012

There should be no subsidizing at all. Will they subsidize my daughter’s venture? Or my son’s? They are both self-employed and trying to make it! We’re all struggling. I remember in 1956 visiting my girlfriend’s relative’s farm in Mansfield, Ohio. Her Uncle worked in a foundry. His farm? He was being paid by the government not to plant corn! At that time I thought it was wrong. And it is still going on. Shameful!

Sally Galias - June 18, 2012

I was in the grocery store today. Brussel Sprouts from Mexico. Asparagras from Peru. Watermelon from Mexico. What exactly are the farmers growing now that it is summer?

Kathy Barnes - June 19, 2012

No more farm subsidizing! Support your local farmers, stop shopping at the grocery stores. We can do this individually, NOW. Yes, it cost more, but the quality is better, your body won’t be screaming for more. Supporting the small local farms, farmers will open shop instead of closing. The small farm is the answer to the question. I would like to know ONE thing in the last 75 years that the government has done in the regulatory arena, or pretty much any other, that didn’t come back and bite us all in the rear. The government needs to do it’s job, not everyone else’s.

William W. Mason Jr - June 19, 2012

Many “farms” are not really farms at all. The way the law is as I understand it many people in other occupations with a large home grow a certain amount of garden to qualify under the law. It, to many, is a scam!

Bonnie Moore - June 20, 2012

Is this the S3240 Bill? How about giving us more information to research your claim instead of just making allegations! I expect more for my membership money.

Author Nathaniel Ward - June 20, 2012

You can find out more about the 2012 farm bill on

Rebecca A. Mackintosh - June 20, 2012

We the People can’t afford this kind of thing any more. My husband and I ran our own businesses for years and no one guaranteed our success. There were no subsides to prop up our efforts. Enough is enough. Another reason to shrink government.

Jim Haupt - June 23, 2012

It is insane to have a bill in place for 79 years without revisiting the need for it. Only the US Government is capable of doing such a foolish thing with my money. Thank you Heritage for bringing this to our attention.

roger nelson - June 23, 2012

There seems to be a lot of anger directed towards the farmer for the so called “farm bill.” Turns out that over the last 79 years the farmers share has significantly changed. Presently over 80% of the money expended in the name of the “farm bill” goes directly to food stamps and nutrition programs. Another 5% goes to conservation projects and programs. That leaves less than 15% for direct and indirect farm assistance. No wonder urban lawmakers are so interested in the “farm bill”; it is really their own welfare program hidden behind the face of a farmer. I think that most farmers would gladly give up their 15%, if the lawmakers would make real and significant cuts to the other 80% of the farm pie as well. As a farmer, I sure would.

Dennis C. Workman - June 25, 2012

I worked on farms allmy life and enjoyed the hard work. I think the government is too intrusive. A free market economy would serve most individual small or medium size farms and farmers the best. Maybe the middleman or large companies would be able to share the wealth..I was studying Ag. ED in college and then left school for an LDS mission and four years in the military durry the end of the Viet Nam War. When I came home farming and ranching was much more difficult so, I went into Education and taught and farmed for several years. The government can’t keep the nose out of anything . They riuned farming and education in the last 45 years. When we will we ever learned. I hope it will be changing

Pat Benkenstein - July 17, 2012

Of course the government needs to get out of manipulating the farming business and stop interfering with free enterprise! This country became great because the government did not interfere, but it has been going down year by year because of the liberals and the “do-gooders” and the emphasis on a “free-ride” for those who do not want to work and accept responsibility.

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