Farm Policy's New Course

Archive Report

Consequences of Farm Recession

Farmer's Plight: Surpluses, Low Prices

Three years ago, President Carter's secretary of agriculture, Bob Bergland, announced the federal government saw no need to pay farmers to take a single acre of crop land out of production. What could not be sold at home could be shipped abroad to satisfy a seemingly insatiable world market that already was claiming one-third of this country's grain production.

In the topsy-turvy arena of global food needs and U.S. farm policy, such optimism now seems like ancient history. As farmers prepare for spring planting this year, the message from Washington is dramatically different. Bergland's successor, John R. Block, is offering farmers new and old incentives, including paying them with surplus crops, to leave up to 50 percent of ...

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