The United States agriculture policy refers to periodically renewed federal farm bills or farm acts that govern programs related to farmers. These policies focus on income assistance, managing their lands, and avoiding soil erosion and other harmful environmental impacts. Some years back, the formulation of the united agriculture department was not allowed any direct involvement in the matters of farmers; instead, the department was only allowed to deal with things like research in agriculture and seed distribution within the country (Woodard,2018). Later, the farm bill was enacted in 1882, and the government started being involved directly in the agriculture sector. The main focus of farm bills was to ensure people followed all the agricultural policies and compliance set in the United States to the latter. Also, within these bills, the government wanted to control the supply of commodities and farm income.
The government continued to be involved in the agricultural department and came up with more bills in the parliament that protected the farms and the farmers. The creation of a conservation bill in 1937 was a way to help the farmers in their financial situations without the government taxing them higher than the normal taxation. It was the main reason why the government of the United States had chosen to be involved directly in the agriculture sector. Also, the conservation bill had become a public concern within the sector. It had gained full support from other special groups interested in agriculture. It is also the government’s main legislative tool to provide farmers with financial assistance. Secondly, the farm bill saw a need to create the soil conservation service and the soil and water conservation districts to continue helping in the agricultural policies at the local levels.
When the government decided to be directly involved in the agricultural sector, it was able to identify other gaps apart from helping the farmers improve their income. These gaps were, for example, environment and soil conservation; the two affect farmers directly since they need good soil and environment to grow crops and make a good harvest. Research has shown that the farm bill is the main legislative tool the United States government has been using since the 90s to formulate agricultural policies which govern the agriculture industry. Also, farm bills refer to a multi-year compressive bill passed by Congress about every five years to improve the agriculture sector. The farm bill addresses so many issues concerning the sector, how the government should help solve the issues, and the goals set to be achieved so that the sector is kept running correctly.
Other major goals in the farm bill are; the conservation of nutritional programs, especially for women and infants, conservation in crop insurance just in case there is an occurrence of the disaster or economic instability, and lastly, conservation policy on food security. The farm bill has become popular in the United States, and the government has enacted policies within the agriculture industry using the conservations in the farm bill (Hill, 2018). The government has also been spending a lot of money to improve conservation programs and continue recruiting and training new farmers in the programs. The agriculture sector in this country has been doing so well in the last ten years with the government’s help; hence the production of agricultural produce is very high, which is an advantage to the economy of the United States.
Describe positive aspects of government intervention in agriculture
The agriculture sector in the united gained several benefits due to government involvement by formulating agricultural policies to govern the industry. First, farm bills programs have positively impacted the wildlife sector in different ways. Implementation of these policies has led to an increase in grassland areas in the southern-eastern part of the United States. Wildlife animals have increased in those areas because of the conservation of the grass and plants that the animals depend on for survival. The more the wildlife increases, the more the recreation sector benefits by getting more customers who visit the wildlife areas.
Secondly, conservation programs from the farm bill have benefited the agricultural sector by providing technical and financial help to the farmers. It’s one of the agricultural policies which has helped the farmers implement different projects on their farms (Moon, 2018). These policies are not only formulated to provide environmental quality benefits but also help the farmer manage their lands to produce a good harvest. Also, the policies focus on providing some payments to the farmers and helping the farmers train in agricultural programs in agriculturally based institutions to gain appropriate skills and knowledge in the sector.
The third benefit is bringing back some of the wetland lost in the days. The wetland bill in the farm bill has targeted to recover 84 percent of the wetland, which the agriculture sector has lost. Over the years use of land to cultivate often results in land change, and it’s a threat to the animals such as birds or wildlife habitats and wetlands existing in such an environment. The agricultural policy is geared towards protecting and recovering the wetland for the wildlife sector, which is very beneficial to the United States economy. Fourth, conservation programs through agricultural policies have proved to benefit the economy of the country, farmers, taxpayers, and local communities.
The financial assistance the farmers get goes to renovation and improvement of the land and helps in the creation of employment for the people living in the community, hiring farm machinery, and buying materials from the local retailers. Fifth, environmental conservation has benefited the farmers by also getting financial support from the programs like CRP, which help them by giving them dollars to continue maintaining a good environment (Hamman, 2021). Such programs campaign for a healthy and conducive environment since it is one of the key factors in agriculture. Counties that receive more funding from these programs may get high taxes hence developing the economy at the county level. Lastly, the government policies in agriculture limit monopoly power since a free-market firm tends to inflate commodities prices. In this case, the government can regulate the prices of farm produce and ensure that workers are paid to the standards set by the labor offices.
Describe the negative aspects of the government’s role
Notwithstanding all the positive aspects the government policies have formulated to govern the agricultural sector, there are a few negative aspects. The farm bill has not provided means to curb the increase in the sediment and nutrients loading into water bodies and the streams. All living things depend on water in many ways. Therefore, water sources are very important and should be well maintained. Nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen from farms and farm produce may cause harmful effects on our drinking water or the water wildlife depends on surviving also. These minerals affect water so that if people or animals drink it, there would be health crises in the areas (Hammelman, 2022). Local communities depend on agriculture to earn their living; therefore, in case of a health disaster, they will not be able to work on the farm, and health covers and insurance are expensive for them to visit health care facilities for checkups.
Secondly, some conservation and compliance maybe be beneficial to other people while at the same time they are a disadvantage to others in this way; Some farms programs may do better than other programs within the same policy framework. Therefore, some producers might come up with compliance that favors them only in the sector while inconveniencing other producers. Thirdly, research shows that the policies do not benefit all the farmers in the United States. Some farmers, especially in Oklahoma, feel discriminated against because they believe the government’s focus on agriculture is only on the producers of main crops or a specific demographic or a race and not all the communities.
Fourth, the agricultural policy may focus on grain producers, only forgetting the small farms, urban producers, and specialty crop producers. Whenever the farm bill focuses on large-scale farming only, it risks invasion of poverty in the community, yet the policies focus on eradicating poverty. The agriculture sector should support the small-scale farmers in all means since agriculture industry growth starts with them. If the country does not have enough food to feed its people, it cannot supply food products globally. Similar, when subsidies provide financial support to the farmers, it might be the main cause of long-term harm to the sector (Li, 2020). The government provides aid to the farmers, leading them to produce a certain crop on their farms which later, after the harvest, the crop floods in the market, and the government decreases the product’s price. When the prices go low, the farmer incurs losses; hence the farmers will depend on the government to give them money again since they cannot raise income from the produces in the firm.
Lastly, the farm bill has increased the number of acres a farmer is supposed to enroll. However, this approach has inconvenienced farmers since the payments they are supposed to receive per acre has reduced. The situation has led to decreased incentives to enroll in agricultural programs as the farmers try to increase the amount of land enrolled. Such a policy has proved not to work well since its goal is to increase involvement within the programs because it is offering less as an incentive is supposed to offer.
Woodard, J. D., Sherrick, B. J., Moseley, J., O’Mara, C., Gold, B., Piotti, J., … & Atwood, D. M. (2019). Harnessing the power of data to improve agricultural policy and conservation outcomes. Choices, 34(3), 1-7.
Hill, B. (2018). Farm incomes, wealth and agricultural policy. Routledge.
Moon, W., & Pino, G. (2018). Do US citizens support government intervention in agriculture? Implications for the political economy of agricultural protection. Agricultural Economics, 49(1), 119-129.
Hamman, E., Deane, F., Kennedy, A., Huggins, A., & Nay, Z. (2021). Environmental Regulation of Agriculture in Federal Systems of Government: The Case of Australia. Agronomy, 11(8), 1478.
Hammelman, C., Shoffner, E., Cruzat, M., & Lee, S. (2022). Assembling agroecological socio-natures: a political ecology analysis of urban and peri-urban agriculture in Rosario, Argentina. Agriculture and Human Values, 39(1), 371-383.
Li, Z., Liao, G., & Albitar, K. (2020). Does corporate environmental responsibility engagement affect firm value? The mediating role of corporate innovation. Business Strategy and the Environment, 29(3), 1045-1055.