Are we where we want to be with commodity programs?

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Are we where we want to be with
commodity programs?
Bruce A. Babcock
Center for Agricultural and Rural
Development
Iowa State University
Talk overview
•
•
•
•
•
Where we are
How we got here
What are we trying to accomplish?
What do (domestic) critics say?
Are there alternatives?
Are Farm Programs CounterProductive?
• One justification for farm programs is that
U.S. farmers need support because of
their exposure to a great amount of risk.
• But won’t a reduction in risk also reduce
expected returns?
• Perhaps, but farm programs also
increased expected or average returns.
Structure of Program Payments
for Corn
Target Price
Not
Effective
Tied
Target Price
To
Prod
Prod
Req.
$2.63
Regardless
$0.28
Of Market Price
$2.35
Direct
Payment
Counter-Cyclical
Payment
Loan Rate
Only If…
Loan Deficiency
Payment
$1.95
2004 Acres Insured in Iowa
7,000,000
6,000,000
5,000,000
4,000,000
CORN
SOYBEANS
3,000,000
2,000,000
1,000,000
0
Actual
Production
History
Crop
Revenue
Coverage
Group Risk Group Risk
Income
Plan
Protection
Income
Protection
Revenue
Assurance
Insurance Coverage by Iowa Farmers in 2004
3,500,000
3,000,000
2,500,000
2,000,000
CORN
SOYBEANS
1,500,000
1,000,000
500,000
0
50
55
60
65
70
75
80
85
90
Distribution of Farm (not field) Yields for an
Average Boone County Farmer
0.08
0.07
0.05
0.04
0.03
0.02
0.01
90
10
0
11
0
12
0
13
0
14
0
15
0
16
0
17
0
18
0
19
0
20
0
21
0
22
0
23
0
70
80
50
60
30
40
10
20
0
0
probability
0.06
bu/ac
Distribution of Corn Harvest Revenue Less $180 Variable Cost
0.12
0.10
0.06
0.04
0.02
11
0
14
0
17
0
20
0
23
0
26
0
29
0
32
0
35
0
38
0
41
0
44
0
47
0
50
0
53
0
56
0
50
80
0
20
-1
0
-4
0
-7
00
0.00
-1
probability
0.08
$/acre
Distribution of Net Revenue Plus Direct Payments
0.12
0.10
0.06
0.04
0.02
11
0
14
0
17
0
20
0
23
0
26
0
29
0
32
0
35
0
38
0
41
0
44
0
47
0
50
0
53
0
56
0
50
80
0
20
-1
0
-4
0
-7
00
0.00
-1
probability
0.08
$/acre
11
0
14
0
17
0
20
0
23
0
26
0
29
0
32
0
35
0
38
0
41
0
44
0
47
0
50
0
53
0
56
0
50
80
0
20
-1
0
-4
0
-7
00
-1
probability
Distribution of Net Revenue Plus LDPs
0.12
0.10
0.08
0.06
0.04
0.02
0.00
$/acre
11
0
14
0
17
0
20
0
23
0
26
0
29
0
32
0
35
0
38
0
41
0
44
0
47
0
50
0
53
0
56
0
50
80
0
20
-1
0
-4
0
-7
00
-1
probability
Distribution of Net Revenue Plus CCPs
0.12
0.10
0.08
0.06
0.04
0.02
0.00
$/acre
11
0
14
0
17
0
20
0
23
0
26
0
29
0
32
0
35
0
38
0
41
0
44
0
47
0
50
0
53
0
56
0
50
80
0
20
-1
0
-4
0
-7
00
-1
probability
Distribution with DP, LDP, CCP
0.12
0.10
0.08
0.06
0.04
0.02
0.00
$/acre
11
0
14
0
17
0
20
0
23
0
26
0
29
0
32
0
35
0
38
0
41
0
44
0
47
0
50
0
53
0
56
0
50
80
0
20
-1
0
-4
0
-7
00
-1
probability
Risk Free Farming?
0.12
0.10
0.08
0.06
0.04
0.02
0.00
$/acre
Reduced Risk
• With no insurance or government programs:
– Average return over variable cost = $143/ac
– 3.8% probability of not covering $180 variable cost
• With all government programs and insurance:
– Average returns over variable cost = $235/ac
– 5.6% probability that returns are less than $143/ac
Risk and Return in a Free-Market
Economy
• Capitalism works when those with capital
are induced to invest by the expectation of
a higher return on invested capital than on
non-invested capital.
Risk-Return Tradeoff
Expected
Return
Risk
Effects of Government Programs
on Iowa Cash Renters
• Cash rents will increase due to the
increase in expected returns.
• Cash rent is also a variable cost of
production.
• How much will cash rents increase?
– Depends on returns to corn land.
Effect of Government Programs on Net Returns from
Iowa Soybean Producer Who Cash Rents Land
0.14
0.12
Probability
0.10
0.08
0.06
0.04
0.02
0.00
-150
-75
0
75
$/acre
150
225
A Comparison of Risk and Returns for Cash Renter
0.16
No programs except
revenue assurance
0.14
Probability
0.12
0.10
Current
situation
0.08
0.06
0.04
0.02
0.00
-150
-75
0
75
$/acre
150
225
How did we get here?
• Macro-economic stabilization policy
objective in the 1930s led to farm
programs
– Focus on higher prices through price supports
and acreage reduction
Relative Importance of Farming
to U.S. Society and Economy
30%
25%
20%
15%
10%
5%
0%
1920
1930
1940
1950
1960
Agriculture's Share of GDP
1970
1980
1990
2000
Farm Population (Share of U.S.)
2010
How did we get here?
• Policy quite stable from the 1950s through
the mid-1980s
– High support prices offset by acreage
restrictions
– Corn favored over soybeans
– High prices in 1970s and high support prices
in early 1980s led to conversion of pasture to
corn
• 1985 farm bill cut loan rates and took land
out of production with CRP
How did we get here?
• Freedom to farm in 1995 eliminated nonCRP acreage controls, converted
deficiency payments to fixed payments,
and allowed loan deficiency payments
• Price declines in late 1990s allowed gave
Congress the opportunity to double AMTA
payments
How did we get here?
• “Surpluses as far as the eye can see”
allowed Ag to increase baseline funding by
$78 billion and add countercyclical
payments
• Surpluses also funded Agricultural Risk
Protection Act which greatly expanded the
crop insurance program
What are we trying to accomplish?
• Support individual farmer income?
– No. (No means test.)
• Enhance adoption of conservation practices?
– No. (CSP funds are first to go. EQIP funding
expanded primarily to help livestock producers meet
Clean Water Act requirements
• Support crop sector income?
– Yes. (In so doing help support national net farm
income.)
What’s Been Criticized in the Current Farm Bill?
• Payments based on price rather than revenue
– No payments in low yield high price yields
– “Over” payment in low price high yield years
• Why is there a need for ad hoc disaster payments?
• Why are we making payments to cotton farmers who
have not grown cotton in 8 years?
• Have we lost the “high road” now that the EU has
reformed its policies?
• How should we respond to the WTO cotton case?
• Why do we have two agencies of USDA providing
income support? (FSA, RMA)
• Overall cost
An Alternative
• Make payments when county average
yield times harvest price is less than target
revenue
• Much like GRIP replacing CBOT price with
a target price
– Would do away with need for disaster
assistance
– Would replace much of the risk borne by the
crop insurance program
Calculating the target
• Expected production times national loan
rate plus
• Maximum CCP rate times CCP base
production plus
• Direct payment rate times base
Market and Target Revenue for Corn and Soybeans Since 2002
30.00
25.00
$ billion
20.00
Market Revenue
Target Revenue
15.00
10.00
5.00
0.00
Corn-02
Corn-03
Corn-04
Soy-02
Soy-03
Soy-04
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