Exploring Options for a New Farm Bill
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Before Congress debates another assistance package or the next farm bill, we should be evaluating alternative policy options. During the past year, FAPRI and AFPC were asked by Representative Charles Stenholm, ranking minority member of the House Agriculture Committee, to analyze the merits of alternative farm programs that would transfer $1, $2, or $3 billion per year (over and above the 1996 farm bill) to program crop producers (FAPRI-UMC Report 07-00). The farm program tools of interest were: a supplemental income protection program, higher marketing loan rates, and additional AMTA payments. The analysis of these options showed that even with $3 billion per year of payments it would not be sufficient to reduce the cash flow problem facing farmers (Smith and Richardson).