Southeast of Macon, Ga., near Oglethorpe, rows of peanuts planted six weeks ago have sprouted. Tiny yellow flowers dot the rich-green plants. Donald Chase, his father and grandfather have owned this farm since the 1950s.
Like many southern farmers, Chase objects to the version of the farm bill kicking around in the Senate this week. The bill aims to do away with direct payments to farmers by expanding crop insurance programs.
Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 9:27 am
The Yazoo River floodwaters inundate crops last year in Yazoo County, Mississippi
Credit Mario Tama / Getty Images
Arithmetic can be quite enlightening sometimes. One of the country's top agricultural economists just fiddled with the government's balance sheet on crop insurance, and arrived at a shocking conclusion: We'd spend billions of dollars less than we do now if we just gave away a simplified version of the insurance for free.
The Obama Administration’s proposed budget aims to eliminate billions of dollars in subsidies that go to farmers every year regardless of need. These direct cash payments are among the most controversial component in the sweeping Farm Bill which is up for re-authorization this year.