Farm Bill includes billions of taxpayers' dollars to buy up development rights, "conserve" land

Liberty News

May 15, 2002 - As he signed the biggest, most wasteful farm bill ever built by Congress, President Bush remarked, “It’s not a perfect bill, I know that.”  So much for Bush’s vow to return U.S. agriculture policy to a “market driven approach.”  

The new farm bill ignores a recent report from Agriculture Secretary, Ann Veneman, that concluded, “government intervention distorts markets and resource allocation….”  

“We cannot afford to keep relearning the lessons of the past,” Secretary Veneman, observed.   

The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, provides a nearly 80 % increase ($83 billion) in farm subsidies over the next ten years.  

The Title II Conservation section is funded at an unprecedented $17.079 billion, which President Bush praises as the “strongest conservation provisions of any farm bill ever passed by Congress.” 

The Conservation Security Program gets $2 billion; Environmental Quality Incentives Program $9 billion; Conservation Reserve Program $1.52 billion and increases the acreage cap from 36.4 million acres to 39.2 million acres.  

The Grassland Reserve Program aims to protect prairie lands by buying ranchers’ development rights with a cap of 2 million acres and $83 million over the life of the bill, coupled with The Farmland Protection Program, another tool to buy development rights, the total package is funded at the $1 billion dollar mark. 

Congress has resurrected old subsidies, as well.  Mohair, wool and honey producers stand to receive $300 million, peanut growers are rewarded with a new subsidy program costing $3 billion plus a $1 billion buyout of the old program.  

There is now a new national dairy subsidy, thanks to the defection of Jim Jeffords, estimated to cost $1.3 billion over its three-year span.  

The Heritage Foundation estimates that the new bill will cost Americans $462 billion in higher taxes and food prices and the average family will pay $4,377 more for necessities.  Farmers make up only 2% of the U.S. population, yet Congress continues to control markets, farmer’ livelihoods and the purse strings.

Bush Signs, Praises Farm Bill 
The Farm State Pig-Out


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