Commodity Program Reform and the Structure of U.S. Agriculture

William H. Meyers, Patrick C. Westhoff
July 1989  [89-WP 44]

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Suggested citation:

Meyers, W.H. and P.C. Westhoff. 1989. "Commodity Program Reform and the Structure of U.S. Agriculture." Working paper 89-WP 44. Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, Iowa State University.


Current agricultural commodity programs affect the structure of U.S. agriculture in a variety of ways. An informal survey of participants in a conference concerning the structure of agriculture indicates a weak consensus among professionals that current programs increase the number of farms, result in more specialization, and encourage land ownership by operators. Analysis by the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) indicates that the elimination of current farm programs would reduce net farm income dramatically, especially in the short run. The negative effects on farm income are estimated to be smaller if other countries also eliminate their agricultural subsidy programs.