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Rethinking US Agricultural Policy

5 octobre 2004

Disastrously low prices are plaguing farmers
worldwide. A deliberate shift in American
agricultural policy in the 1990s has paved the
way for these depressed crop prices with no
mechanisms in place to change the situation.
Prices declined after 1996 because that
year’s Farm Bill dropped several traditional,
crucial safeguards for managing supply and
supporting prices.
Conventional wisdom suggested that American
agriculture could look forward to a sound
future of expanding demand for farm exports.
It was thought that the agricultural industry
had developed enough to fend for itself, unfettered
by restrictive government programs.
That wasn’t how it worked out.
Since US policies influence the fate of farmers
well beyond our borders, policy approaches
addressing the needs of US farmers
should recognize our larger global influence.
This study
• Explores why the changes in US policy
brought about by the 1996 Farm Bill produced
declining revenues ;
• Demonstrates that the solution to global
low prices involves considerably more
than just eliminating subsidies ; and
• Introduces a policy blueprint that would
raise crop prices universally, thus contributing
to a healthy and vigorous worldwide
agricultural industry.
Changing US policy alone cannot solve the
global crisis in agriculture, but it is an important
step toward a global cooperative solution
that can benefit farmers around the world.