Commodity Payments Reform
Programs to regulate the production of the major non-perishable field crops have been at the very center of federal farm policy since the New Deal era. In recent decades, many of the original goals of commodity programs have been abandoned and replaced with outright production subsidies that encourage overproduction, volatile market prices that fluctuate wildly, and an export expansion orientation.
The current set of commodity programs has serious unintended consequences. They have subsidized farm consolidation, raised land prices well beyond market levels, reduced farming opportunities for a new generation of farmers, encouraged over-intensive production resulting in polluted runoff and loss of biodiversity, and enabled the growth of industrial animal feeding facilities at high cost to the environment, public health, and animal well-being.
While the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) did not achieve the sweeping commodity program reforms it sought in the 2008 Farm Bill, a few changes were made to payment limitations and adjusted gross income limitations. On balance, the 2008 Farm Bill loosened payment limitation rules and tightened the adjusted gross income (AGI) test. For more information on these changes in the 2008 Farm Bill, please see the Commodity Payments Reform page in the Grassroots Guide.
NSAC will continue to pursuse commodity payment reform with the next Administration.