As we speak the American government is seeking to pass a revolutionary bill that will change the way the States handle farm insurance.  Gone will be deductibles farmers pay for crop failure allowing virtually risk free farming.

[Already American farmers get] a set amount regardless of whether they have planted crops.  [The new bill] would set up another crop insurance subsidy, costing $3 billion a year, to cover any losses farmers suffer, known as deductibles, before their crop insurance policies kick in. — NY Times

After buying into this new insurance program you could go into the dessert and claim you were going to plant some sunflower seeds.  Even though the seeds never pushed out of the ground you would be paid for the full price of the crops as if  they had pushed their way up through the earth.  Already commentators are predicting farmers will move onto unproductive or wild land in order to cash in on this free government welfare program.

When you can remove nearly all the risk involved and guarantee yourself a profit, it’s not a bad business decision,” said Darwyn Bach, a farmer in St. Leo, Minn., who said that he is guaranteed about $1,000 an acre in revenue before he puts a single seed in the ground because of crop insurance. “I can farm on low-quality land that I know is not going to produce and still turn a profit. — NY Times

Even though this sort of free hand out irks me as counter productive, it’s other American farming policies that drive me up the wall.  For instance the prohibition of buying food aid outside of America.  As it stands now all US food aid has to be grown domestically and then shipped overseas.   This adds huge costs to feeding the desperate while enriching the American farming industry.   If food aid could be purchased closer to its target area it would not only be cheaper but it would build up third world farming infrastructure that could break the hunger cycle, preventing future third world food shortages.

But my biggest scorn is towards the West’s policy of growing food in Afghanistan.  As it stands now most Afghan farmers grow opium as it pays a decent price and they can feed their families.  The Taliban tax the drug trafficers that buy the raw heroin and that money pours into their coffers that allow the bearded ones to attack American GIs.

To defend from the opium funded, AK-47 wielding jihadists the Americans spend BILLIONS fighting the Taliban.  Yet a key part of the Taliban war machinery could be destroyed if Afghan farmers simply stopped growing opium.  How could they do this?  Simple.  Take the billions US taxpayers pay for the American presence in Afghanistan and pay Afghan farmers more for food crops than they could get for opium.  The price to produce and traffic opium would go up until it became unprofitable to grow and ship to western markets while at the same time weakening the Taliban and enriching the Afghan farmer, the very person you need on your side to defeat the insurgents.

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