Why Our Farm Policy Is Failing

Congress's new farm bill is bad for the country's economy, environment, and rural towns. Naturally, it's a shoo-in

Kenneth Jarecke / Contact Press Images for TIME

The Circle E farm, Belden, Nebraska

Agricultural policy is not sexy. You probably don't know the intricacies of "loan deficiency payments" or "base acreage," and you probably don't care. This was once an agrarian nation, but now there's a less than 1% chance that you're a farmer, and if you are, you're probably part time; the average farm family gets 82% of its income from nonfarm sources. We're not a people of the soil anymore, and for most of us, our eyes glaze over when we see farm statistics like the ones in that last sentence.

But farms still cover most of our land, consume most of...

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