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E-M:/ RE: / who benefits from Michigan farm subsidies?



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Enviro-Mich message from "Harris, Craig" <Craig.Harris@ssc.msu.edu>
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dave, 

i'd like to raise a couple quibbles about your post . . . 

first, "disproportionate" . . . my sense is that the payments are
proportionate to what the programs base them on, usually commodity acreage .
. . one may disagree with programs that pay subsidies based on commodity
acreage, but then one's disagreement is with the congress that enacted the
program, not with the farmer who accepts the payment . . . the distribution
of farmland among farms is highly skewed, so any program that bases its
benefits on acreage will have a highly skewed distribution of benefits . . .
in this particular case, the inequality of the distribution of payments is
about the same as the inequality of the distribution of wealth in the u.s.;
five percent of households own about 50 percent of all wealth . . . one may
favor progressive policies that lessen the inequality of the distribution of
wealth and/or land, but it does not seem fair to implement this progressive
zeal only with farmers . . . 

second, "conservation programs" . . . i also support the idea of moving
money from subsidy programs to conservation programs . . . but i also expect
that the payments under conservation programs are going to look a lot like
the payments under subsidy programs . . . farmers who get large subsidy
payments have large farms . . . large farms need a lot of conservation work
. . . large farms are going to get large conservation payments . . .
obviously conservation payments can be capped (although congress has not
seemed very excited about this prospect); but if conservation payments are
capped, conservation work will probably be capped also . . . 

cheers,

craig

craig k harris
department of sociology
center for integrated plant systems
national food safety and toxicology center
institute for food and agricultural standards
michigan state university
429b berkey hall
east lansing  michigan  48824-1111
tel:  517-355-5048
fax:  517-432-2856


-----Original Message-----
From: Dave Dempsey [mailto:davemec@voyager.net]
Sent: Monday 26 November 2001 18:15
To: Enviro-Mich@Great-Lakes.Net
Subject: E-M:/ who benefits from Michigan farm subsidies?

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Enviro-Mich message from "Dave Dempsey" <davemec@voyager.net>
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Today's Booth Newspapers feature a story by Mike Magner about a study from
the Environmental Working Group alleging a handful of Michigan farmers are
reaping disproportionate benefits from farm subsidies when the money would
be better spent on farm conservation programs.  The Michigan Farm Bureau
strongly disputes the study.

http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf?/news/stories/20011120l1125farmsubsidies
.frm




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