Farmers Are Taking Their PIK

Mixed results from a plan to aid growers who don't grow

Across America last week, the nation's farm land had a bizarre new look. In Kansas, large brown patches of stubble-studded earth interrupt shimmering golden carpets of ripening winter wheat. In Nebraska, idle center-pivot sprinklers stand like outsize scarecrows over many once verdant cornfields. In California, more than half of the acreage normally devoted to rice lies uncultivated. The cause of the crop cutback is not drought or disaster but a new federal program that rewards farmers, partly in cash and partly in grain...

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