Momentum is building in Congress for
overhauling farm subsidies because of tight budgets and increasing
enthusiasm for renewable fuels and conservation programs.
The current farm bill, which expires in September, provides
payments and other help to supplement farmers' incomes, support
crop prices and manage supplies. Any cuts in subsidies will face
President Bush sought similar reductions upon taking office. But
he made little headway in the latest farm bill, which Congress
wrote in 2002.
Since then, Democrats have regained control of the House and
energy prices have skyrocketed, leading to more calls for ethanol,
which is derived from plants. Record prices for corn and other
crops have some people questioning the need for subsidies.
The government paid out almost 17 (B) billion dollars in
subsidies last year, a drop of more than ten (B) billion dollars