farm subsidies

As Corn Crop Grows, Taxpayer Liabilities Should Shrink

Famine. Drought. Throughout most of recorded human history, these two dire conditions have been the bane of farmers’ existence. But with technological innovation, the development of new harvesting and planting techniques, and a healthy dose of ingenuity, America’s farmers have been able to mitigate some of the sting that such phenomena can inflict.

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a new report showing that the number of acres for planting corn is expected to increase in 2013. This follows last year’s severe drought and the hand-wringing hysterics of pundits and politicians alike who clamored for emergency disaster relief to fend off the imminent arrival of the Black Horseman.

Somewhat disappointingly for those of us who appreciate a healthy dose of fatalism, the apocalypse never materialized and farmers went on to experience yet another year of record-high income—courtesy of the American taxpayer. You had a good run, Mayans.

As we noted last year, the drought’s very real impact on farmers and ranchers was still no reason to allocate new spending and initiate yet another bailout. Taxpayers already subsidize a hefty crop insurance safety net for just such occasions. And both farmers and ranchers had nearly a year to prepare themselves following the expiration of drought assistance programs in September of 2011.

While news that the number of acres of corn will be its highest in 77 years does not guarantee high yields, it does suggest that America’ agriculture sector remains strong. And it does mean that conservatives must continue to push for eliminating these costly and unsustainable subsidy programs.

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As corn crops grow, taxpayer handouts should shrink.

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Despite last year's drought, corn planting will reach a record this year.

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