The 2002 US Farm Bill: what's in it for CAP reform?
Ayer, H. and Swinbank, A. (2002) The 2002 US Farm Bill: what's in it for CAP reform? Eurochoices, 1 (3). pp. 26-33.
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1111/j.1746-692X.2002.tb00095.x
The 2002 U.S. Farm Bill (the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act or FSRIA) provides considerably more government subsidies for U.S. agriculture than Congress envisaged when it passed the preceding 1996–2002 FAIR Act. We review the FAIR record, showing how government subsidies increased greatly beyond those originally scheduled. For FSRIA, we outline key commodity, trade, and conservation and environmental provisions. We expect that the commodity programmes will: (a) encourage production when the market calls for less; (b) significantly increase subsidies over FAIR baseline subsidies; (c) press against current WTO and possible Doha Round support limits; and (d) aggravate trading partners. Finally, we suggest two lessons from the U.S. policy experience that might benefit those working on CAP and WTO reform. First, past research shows that farm programmes have little to do with the economic health of rural communities. Second, programme transparency, and especially public disclosure of the level of payments going to individual farmers, by name, influences the farm policy debate. Personalized data show what economists have long maintained—that the bulk of programme benefits go to a relatively few, large, producers—but do so in a way that captures the public and policy-makers' attention