Why do we subsidize farming?

I admit I am neither a farmer no an economist, but can anyone imagine a scenario were farm subsidies end without lots of farmers leaving the business? 1: We have too much farm capability for the economy to support without subsidies. 2: We don't want to see thousands of farmers forced into destitution because they can't get a good enough price because of competition. We treasure the idea of the "family farm". Does this mean that we're going to be subsidizing them forever? Is that what the taxpayer signed up for? Surely we should be subsidizing them to change crops to something more self sustaining or education and training to pick another business. Am I being cruel or realistic? It will only get worse as the weather destabilizes with global warming. That is, there will be bumper crops in some places and destitution in others. Isn't the nature of this job to assume the risk of the weather and market place? Are we saying that without subsidies, there would be no farmers? I am not against funding something because it wouldn't happen otherwise and we, as a society, value it (like the arts). However, did we sign up to perpetually fund an industry that could survive by simply decreasing its output capacity? >why do farmers continue to farm? >they love to do it, they have a huge amount >of money invested in it, it is all they know how >to do. Personally, I think this is the crux of the issue. Issues of economy and cost would be taken care of by the free market (aren't we being two faced if we socialize farming but keep medicine unsocialized?). If we withdrew subsidies: 1: The prices would crash as competition forced people to compete to beyond what the supply chain can handle. 2: Many farmers would go out of business. 3: Eventually, the number of farmers would become suitable to the demand and they would get reasonable prices. "All they know how to do" isn't a sufficient reason to maintain subsidies. People are being forced to retrain in just about every discipline you can name to keep up with technology and global markets. Why should farmers be immune to this shift towards tenochracy? tenochracy was supposed to be technocracy. My fingers are apparently asleep today.

Asked By: Elana - 5/9/2007
Best Answer - Chosen by Asker
it would take writing a book for me to explain all of the reasons for subsidies. in the interest of time and space, i will narrow it down to the most important reasons and briefly discuss them... More
Answered By: osto11 - 5/9/2007
Additional Answers (8)
Farmers in the UK and now Europe have always been subsidized. They are always complaining. God knows why they receive compensation for foot and mouth disease bird flu etc, anybody else would vaccinate against disease and/or pay insurance. They are even paid to grow nothing or crops we dont really need. Its about time... More
Answered By: McQ - 5/9/2007
Subsidy for farm products is necessary. The returns are very poor compared to other products like engineering, chemical, petroleum etc... More
Answered By: natarajan l - 5/9/2007
I'm going to TRY to answer your question. I'm neither farmer or economist, but I've got friends who farm... More
Answered By: ryantreb - 5/9/2007
You're missing the point. Farmers are subsidized in order to prop up supply, which in turn keeps the prices down, at least relative to what they would be without subsidization. If we eliminated subsidies, in the short term we would get much lower prices, but then that would be followed by long term shortages in most... More
Answered By: righteousjohnson - 5/9/2007
except maybe tobacco and dairy, most farmers (including my family) would like to see subsidies go, but the price we get for most grains (livestock is a different story) has not changed in 30 years while inputs have risen along with other prices. If you can figure out what to do....good luck!
Answered By: buck - 5/9/2007
subsidies were a very good idea when they were set up. we badly needed the crops to feed ourselves. Today, the do more harm than good. subsidies encourage first world farmers to grow crops better grown elsewhere on the planet - this keeps down the prices of those crops, therefore third world countries farmers, who don'... More
Answered By: gufodotto - 5/9/2007
Analysis of the random risk in farming due to weather indicate that farmers, in a competitive market, would plant so the expected yield would meet the demand for food in an average year. This means that in bad years there would be food shortages and high prices so some people would not have enough to eat. Most... More
Answered By: meg - 5/9/2007
Any answer that lists all the costs of farming, the risks, the secondary and tertiary markets that are affected by farming - all of those answers manage to miss something terribly important... More
Answered By: Raul - 2/2/2014
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