Since the nation’s inception, we have had various and sundry policies to encourage the production of agricultural commodities to meet our food, feed, and fiber needs and, in time, fuel needs as well.
These policies have come in stages based on changing needs: Land distribution culminating in the Homestead Act to encourage farming and ranching. Education and research to augment productivity and quality of life on the farm. Improvements in information, marketing, and credit to help farm and ranch families weather the vagaries of Mother Nature and inherently volatile agricultural markets. And the farm safety net that has evolved over the years into a market-oriented set of policies that help producers survive in the face of the predatory trade practices used by foreign countries, including high subsidies, tariffs, and non-tariff trade barriers.
This safety net in the Farm Bill coupled with Federal Crop Insurance are the key ways that U.S. farm policy assists America’s farm and ranch families in mitigating the impacts of distorted markets due to predatory trade practices of foreign countries and natural disasters. This is made possible through a very small federal investment, with the entirety of the farm safety net constituting less than one-quarter of one percent of the total Federal budget.