Despite a goal in many of the recent farm bills to promote rural economic growth, 68 percent of farm bill spending is direct payments to farmers of commodity crops, such as cotton, wheat and corn, with only .07 percent of total spending going toward rural development issues. However, as the trend of farm consolidation continues, fewer farmers receive the benefits of these payments and rural communities have lost many of the business opportunities created by a diverse agricultural sector. Future farm policies need to find new approaches to support the broader base of rural economic growth, such as fostering business innovation and entrepreneurship.
Do Farm Payments Promote Rural Economic Growth?
The Main Street Economist
Kansas City, KS: Center for The Study of Rural America
March 01, 2005