The Biden Administration announced proposals in recent weeks designed to boost production of wheat, soybeans, rice, and other major commodity crops to make up for lost global exports due to Russia’s war in Ukraine. In this blog post, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) joins a public choir skeptical of the White House’s plans, as well as adjacent whispers circulating on Capitol Hill to permanently boost commodity farm subsidies in the upcoming Farm Bill. These federal incentives would be nothing more than stopgap measures to hide deep-rooted issues which threaten the security and resilience of our food supply chain.
Two weeks ago, the White House announced a $500 million proposal to boost commodity production as one piece of a $33 billion funding request to Congress to address global fallout from Russia’s war in Ukraine. $100 million would be used to provide a $10-per-acre crop insurance premium discount to farmers who plant soybeans following a winter wheat crop in 2023 (a practice known as double-cropping), while $400 million would fund a two-year increase in loan rates to incentivize production of wheat, rice, and edible oilseeds.
President Biden claimed that the measures would “be good for rural America, good for the American consumer, and good for the world.” But agricultural economists cast doubt on whether these measures would even serve to incentivize production at all for commodities that are already fetching heightened market prices.