Fixing Freedom to Farm

By Stenholm, Charlie | Independent Banker, February 2000 | Go to article overview

Fixing Freedom to Farm


Stenholm, Charlie, Independent Banker


After several emergency appropriations, farmers need protection from extreme market fluctuations

Four years into the policies of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act, the 1996 farm bill, it is painfully clear that complete dependence on foreign markets has failed to provide producers with the incomes promised by the authors of the "Freedom to Farm" legislation.

Congress has acknowledged this failing by providing ad hoc emergency income assistance two years running and is likely to do so again in 2000. This emergency assistance has eradicated all but $1 billion of the $13 billion deficit reduction accomplished in the 1995 draft of Freedom to Farm-a primary foundation of the FAIR Act.

Last year, Congress recognized that our current mix of farm programs and risk management tools was simply not adequate. The agriculture appropriations bill for fiscal year 1999 included $6 billion in emergency assistance to farmers and ranchers, designating $2.4 billion for producers who lost crops in 1998 or over the course of multiple years. The remaining funds were used for the unprecedented purpose of compensating producers for low prices, including areas that were unaffected by weather-related disasters.

These funds came in the form of supplemental Agricultural Market Transition Act payments. Since the AMTA contract does not require a producer actually to plant a crop, it is likely that a significant portion went to individuals who did not produce the commodity for which the assistance was being provided. Such ad hoc relief is a poor substitute for a long-term policy. Farmers and taxpayers are more secure when the conditions of federal assistance are established prior to-the need.

Last year's emergency crop-loss aid illustrates the need for improvements in the crop insurance program. The need for emergency income support demonstrates the need for improvements in our basic farm-income assistance programs. In 1999, Congress provided an additional $6 billion for crop insurance. This year, consistent with our budget obligations, Congress should also provide for income protection.

Remembering a Promise

In passing the 1996 farm bill, the House leadership promised to revisit the measure if Congress failed to take action to open world markets, reduce regulations and provide tax relief to agricultural producers. Thus far, no action has been taken to authorize U.S. participation in multilateral trade negotiations to open markets, export sanctions relief has been denied, no real effort has been made to provide the promised regulatory relief, and tax relief has been modest at best. On the whole, our current farm policy is backed by broken promises.

On the positive side, the 1996 FAIR Act re-- flects the recognition that farmers need to be able to respond to world markets when demand is there. Greater planting flexibility enables producers to plant those crops consumers need and want. It also recognizes that government-determined supply controls do not benefit U.S. producers if our producers are the only ones to reduce farm output. These principles should continue.

That being said, agricultural producers also need assistance from year to year to meet the challenges posed by weather and changes in price. These benefits, however, should accrue to those family-sized farms that are actually engaged in agricultural production.

WhIte risk management tools such as crop or revenue insurance may adequately protect producers from yield or price declines within a crop year, these do not make up for declines from previous year's price levels. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Fixing Freedom to Farm
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.