In 1984, New Zealand repealed all governmental subsidies for farmers. Before that time, farmers there were receiving a higher percentage of subsidies than American farmers are today through our farm bill. When New Zealand farmers were faced with the end of their farm bill, many had predicted that scores of family farms would go broke and that there would be chaos throughout the land. Despite the fears, Kiwi farmers were quickly able to use their ingenuity to profit from the lack of government intervention in their affairs.
As it turned out, in some instances, the farm bill payments to farmers were not helping, but rather hindering the potential of farms, both big and small. When encouraged to produce what the market demanded, instead of what some bureaucrats deemed necessary, the free market economy quickly allowed farmers to excel where they had been restricted before.
Fears that land would be destroyed in search of higher profits were unfounded as farmers are much better at preserving their own property than politicians are. Many lands in New Zealand that were being farmed with the promise of payments through their farm bill were converted to open space and land preserves. Land with low quality soils made poor farmland that couldn’t turn a profit without the help of subsidizing.
It is true that the vast majority of our farm bill is related to welfare and the food stamp program. If nothing else, this is an indication of the complexities involved with our government intervening in farming. Food stamps and agriculture are barely related, yet they are nearly indistinguishable in the farm bill. Allowing the capitalist system to reward farmers based on the free market economy is a sure way to prevent waste in farming. Is the idea of doing away with the farm bill a drastic suggestion with dire consequences?
Since even conservative plans for a new farm bill will cost billions of dollars a year, attempting to move forward with no legislation in place could save taxpayers an astonishing sum.
Given our government’s inability to perform any task in an efficient manner, it would seem very plausible that farmer’s themselves could better manage their own affairs. In an era where we see land prices reaching historic highs, this could be the best chance to let farmers prove their ingenuity by getting government out of farming.
Sterling Land Company agents are not experts on farm subsidies. However, we believe that the best thing the government can do for a business is to stay out of it.
Questions or Comments
If you have questions or comments, please fill out the form below and a representative will be in touch.