According to an article from the Washington Post, the U.S. government has spent over 1.3 billion dollars on farming subsidies paid out to people who live on farm land that is not even used for farming. These people range from retired individuals to rich landowners (one example is a surgeon who has received a grand total of $490,709 just because he owns the land). The Farm Program was started approximately 12 years ago as an attempt to end the old subsidies that were costly to the government, but the new program has become even more expensive. One man tried to return the money he was given, but he was told that the money would just be distributed to other land owners. This program was an attempt to help farmers with the costs of growing crops and was intended to be aimed at rice and wheat specifically.
Interestingly enough, in another, more recent article from the New York Sun, several areas of the U.S. that were once considered the “Breadbaskets” of the world are now experiencing shortages of rice and wheat. Many stores, including Costco, have been forced to limit the amount of rice and flour bought by their customers. These food items are staples in the American diet and many people are upset about the lack of the one food item that they consider a necessity.
Looking at these two articles, it is clear that the government needs to take a look at its policies on farm subsidies. The farm program was designed to help American farmers provide food at an affordable cost to the American people. Unfortunately, the operations of these policies are not well developed and, while the rich get richer, middle class people cannot afford to by rice and flour. It is possible that the government needs to move toward a more formalized structure for review of farmers getting the subsidies. They should gain better control of the people that are receiving the money. If a person is not actually farming, then they should not be a cog in the “farming machine” and should not be paid. If the person is farming, the government should be certain that the farmer is doing right by the American people, by providing the food needed at a reasonable cost.
One way for the government to actually accomplish this is by making reports on crop yield mandatory. With this information they could find out who is not farming at all and take away the funding (tax payers do not need to be paying rich guys to sit on their butts). This funding could then be passed on to farmers who try but still produce a low crop yield (as long as it is proved that this person is actually making an attempt at producing food). If those who are actually farming have an increase in their subsidy then they may be able to have an even higher yield. These simple changes would help to prevent the shortages described in the New York Sun Article and possibly save the government a little bit of money.