Saturday, July 28, 2007

Farming For Energy

While at a public policy conference this week one of the attendees asked me if I was following the current debate in Congress regarding the Farm Bill --

Personally I would rather end all the government involvement in agriculture such as subsidies, price supports, the milk compact, etc. but that is an amazing lobbying machine to overcome so let me offer a different approach. In 2005 the USA's federal farm subsidies totaled $23 billion. Instead of simply paying this "agri-welfare" year after year why not transfer these billions of dollars into a federal bio-fuels initiative?

Such a public policy change could potentially provide a number of benefits including:

  • food and energy security
  • return farmers to being entrepreneurs again not government employees
  • improve economic opportunities for African farmers because they would not have to compete against America's subsidized crops

Again -- I would rather see the agri-welfare completely phased out and the tax dollars returned to American taxpayers but if that can't be accomplished let's at least produce new sources of energy instead of subsidizing sugar production.

End the plantation system,


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