Shouldn’t the Farm Safety Net Target Those Feeding the Country?

In remarks during a March 16, 2023, hearing before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, Secretary Vilsack testified that while “our policies have ensured an increasingly abundant food supply, growth in farm size and consolidation has put extreme economic pressure on small and medium sized farms and our rural communities…. We must ask ourselves: do we want a system that continues to force the big to get bigger and the small and underserved to get out or do we want a build a more innovative system?”

The United States has grappled with this small-farm versus large-farm debate for decades.

While many claim that the safety net is targeted toward large farms, it should be noted that (1) the safety net is provided to producers on a per-acre basis regardless of size and (2) Congress has invested a significant amount of resources in helping small, beginning, socially disadvantaged, limited resource, and veteran producers get started in production agriculture. Congress has also significantly curtailed access to the farm safety net for larger farm operations via means testing, actively engaged determinations, and payment limits. READ THE FULL ARTICLE.

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