Monday, May 7, 2012

Agricultural Commodities, Regionalism, and National Policy

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently reported on discussions and debates around the new farm bill.  The article could be directly out of my book.

The article outlines how cotton and peanut growers in the South have policy preferences that differ from farmers in the Corn and Wheat Belts.

Since the article is in a Georgia newspaper, the primary focus is on Georgia politicians, such as Saxby Chambliss (US senator) and Gary Black (state ag commissioner).  Notably, the southern Republican politicians are fighting to retain government protections from market instability for southern farmers.

Of course, it's also interesting that some of the same politicians are fighting to eliminate or reduce protections from market instability for the poor in the form of food stamps.  (Note that the cost of food stamps has risen in recent years as more and more families had to rely on such government support as the economy collapsed and unemployment increased 4 years ago.)

Anyway, the point is that this process -- divisions and shifting coalitions in agriculture leading to changes in agricultural policy -- has been going on for almost 100 years (if not longer).

Read all about it in my book!

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