AGRICULTURE: Why Comply?

The Rube Goldberg awkwardness of the U.S.'s federal farm programs was revealed once again last week in a problem faced—and solved, after a fashion—by Agriculture Secretary Ezra Taft Benson. To avert a threatened collapse in hog prices next year, Benson offered to support this year, at $1.10 a bushel, any and all corn grown by Corn Belt farmers who ignored the Agriculture Department's acreage controls (for farmers who complied with controls, the support price is $1.36). He was "sorry," said Benson, but he just had to take the step, because if free-market corn prices fell too low, farmers would...

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