President Obama's "audacious proposal" to save nearly $10 billion over the next decade by capping direct subsidies to farms that annually gross more than $500,000 was rejected by the House and Senate. Agricultural interests lobbied against the subsidy cuts and even subsidy reform advocates deemed the President's plan to be too ambitious (although the Senate version of the 2008 Farm Bill included a lower cap). Budget outlines that have been approved by the House and Senate do not limit farm subsidies at all, and, according to the House Agriculture Commission, such a proposal can only be executed during the next Farm Bill (http://tinyurl.com/cwa9st), in 2012.
In the April 6th Grist, Tom Laskawy blogs that even with a lower capping limit the subsidy system would continue to encourage "the overproduction of corn and soy and the underproduction of fruits and vegetables." He asserts that the current system primarily benefits food processors, and reform efforts focus on its wastefulness rather than on ensuring production of "the right things."
A bipartisan group of 27 congressmen have written the President and the Senate and House Budget Committees in opposition to the administration's proposed 20% cut in the Market Access Program ( http://www.fas.usda.gov/mos/programs/map.asp ), which helps finance foreign promotion of U.S. agricultural products. The program was reauthorized in the 2008 farm bill at $200 million annually.
DID OBAMA SCREW UP AG SUBSIDY REFORM?
Grist, Tom Laskawy, April 8, 2009
OBAMA NOT ALLOWED TO CUT FARM SUBSIDIES
World Poultry, March 18, 2009
National Hog Farmer North American Preview, March 20, 2009