Conservation & sustainability, Food security, International issues, Policy, Studies

Poverty, Hunger, and US Agricultural Policy: Do Farm Programs Affect the Nutrition of Poor Americans?

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Key Points

  • Farm subsidy programs have little impact on food consumption, food security, or nutrition in the United States, despite occasional claims to the contrary.
  • The modern era of federal farm commodity subsidies began with the New Deal more than 80 years ago.
  • Farm subsidies and related land retirements, market regulations, and trade policies have an array of small and offsetting impacts on farm commodity prices. When filtered through the supply chain, their impacts on retail prices and food consumption are surely tiny.
  • We conclude that farm programs do not affect food prices in a direction that protects the poor, and the people whose incomes are most improved by farm policies are not the same people who are at risk of poverty and hunger.

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