The 2007 farm bill will be written at a crucial time. Budgetary pressures, the foundering Doha Round of trade negotiations, and record-high prices for many commodities all point to the need for serious reform of U.S. agricultural policy. Although many reform proposals have been put forward in anticipation of the new farm bill, none so far has questioned the very premise of interfering in rural markets and supporting a chosen few.
A new Cato Institute study calculates the high cost that American consumers and taxpayers have borne over the last 20 years to support farmers and advocates ending farm subsidies and market distortions once and for all. Has the time come to entirely rethink U.S. agricultural policy?