12 November 1998
USA retreats on farming reform

THE USA has been forced to beat a retreat on its radical reform of agriculture in the face of a growing crisis in the industry, reports The Times in a review of the sector.

The 1996 Freedom to Farm Act gave farmers the freedom to farm in any way they choose. It ended 50-years of virtual state control by subsidies and quotas which put $5.5 billion (£3.3bn) a year into farmers pockets between 1900 and 1996.

But since the Bill was passed most commodity prices have plummeted. Land prices have also been hit.

In the face of the industrys plight, the Government has attempted to ameliorate some of the most painful aspects of the transition to a laissez-faire agricultural policy through billions of dollars of farming aid.

The report believes a shake-out will see many leaving the industry.

  • The Times 12/11/98 page 33