Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Promoting farm subsidies was once a no-brainer for rural members of Congress who wanted to be re-elected. This year, it's a bit trickier.
As lawmakers wade cautiously into writing the next five-year farm bill, farmers, agribusiness and their lobbyists are preparing for the worst. Major cuts in subsidies appear likely. The Senate Agriculture Committee is holding its first hearing on the legislation Wednesday.
Previous farm bills in 2002 and 2008 were driven by rural election-year politics and maintained subsidies for just about everyone. But this year, many of farmers' traditional allies are just as concerned -- maybe even more so -- about voters' calls for less spending. And that puts the fate of billions of dollars of farm subsidies in question.