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Looking For Government'S Role As An Agricultural Safety Net


  • Dorfman, Jeffrey H.


What makes agriculture especially deserving of an active government safety net? What is different about agricultural production? Are we concerned about a safe and reliable food supply or about farmers' incomes and returns to assets? Those who make farm policy base their arguments on all of these points: the diffuse nature of agricultural production, the inherent production risk in agriculture, the need for a safe and reliable food supply, shortcomings in farm income, and low returns to assets in agriculture. This paper addresses these points and, in so doing, rules out some of these concerns as legitimate bases for current agricultural policies. By focusing on those that are genuine, U.S. farm policy could spend limited resources in areas where the most good could be done, thus benefiting both farmers and taxpayers.

Suggested Citation

  • Dorfman, Jeffrey H., 2000. "Looking For Government'S Role As An Agricultural Safety Net," Journal of Agribusiness, Agricultural Economics Association of Georgia, vol. 18(1), March.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:jloagb:14707

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Utpal Vasavada & Robert G. Chambers, 1986. "Testing Asset Fixity for U.S. Agriculture: Reply," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 68(2), pages 355-357.
    2. Gardner, Bruce L, 1992. "Changing Economic Perspectives on the Farm Problem," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(1), pages 62-101, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gray, Allan W. & Boehlje, Michael & Gloy, Brent A. & Slinsky, Stephen P., 2002. "Government Program Payment Mechanisms, Crop Revenue Coverage Insurance, and the Return to Farm Land," Proceedings: 2002 Regional Committee NC-221, October 7-8, 2002, Denver, Colorado 132370, Regional Research Committee NC-1014: Agricultural and Rural Finance Markets in Transition.


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