Sunday, September 12, 2010

Farm Bill Thoughts

(click on image to enlarge)

While we are still in the early stages of thinking about the next farm bill, perhaps there might be something to be gained by reflecting upon where policy has taken us since 1929.

In 1929 grain was first taken in a binder and the thrashed. Crop yields per acre were much lower. Cows were milked mostly by hand and produced maybe, 3,000 per lactation.

So, where has all this early adoption of technology taken us? As can be seen in the above graph, there is hardly any difference, a mere 8%, between 1929 and 2009 when inflation is factored (constant dollars).

The trend on farm income is even more disturbing. Certainly, no one will stand up in congress and suggest that all the proceeds from increased productivity be handed over to those above the farmer. How then to proceed from here is a huge question.

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