Agri-vation: The Farm Bill from Hell

The 2002 Farm Bill is a four-fold disaster, replete with domestic and foreign policy costs. An experienced farm hand shows how.

Issue: Summer 2003

United States agricultural and trade policies have huge impacts on
world markets. Indeed, as a leading agricultural exporter, American
actions set the tone for much of international food policy. The
United States has done much good in this role; for example, it helped
lead agriculture toward more open markets in the Uruguay Round
negotiations (1986-93). But the centerpiece of current U.S.
agricultural policy, the 2002 Farm Bill, is an outright disaster in
four acts. First, it upends U.S. commitments in the World Trade
Organization (WTO) to more open agricultural trade, from which U.S.
farmers would be the largest beneficiaries. The failure of the latest
Doha Round negotiations to make any real progress is testimony to the
fact. Second, it sends exactly the wrong message to our trading
partners in Europe and the developing countries. Third, less
obviously but not less importantly, it undermines the long-term

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