Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Just in!

FAPRI: Farm Program Cuts May, May Not Raise Food Prices

Columbia--In a column published Saturday in the Columbia (Missouri) Daily Tribune, Pat Westhoff, director of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri, noted that cutting direct payments in the farm bill would have only small effects on consumer food prices.

“The payments are small relative to the value of what farmers earn from the products they sell and are even smaller relative to what consumers spend on food,” he wrote.

Westhoff explained that the crop insurance program keeps marginal land in crop production, which helps hold down food prices. “In contrast, the conservation reserve program pays farmers to idle environmentally sensitive cropland for 10 years or more. If budget cuts resulted in fewer acres enrolled in the conservation reserve, more land would be available for crop production. The result would be a modest reduction in food prices,” he wrote.

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