The 2002 Farm Bill as a Water Resources Management Failure

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Contribution to Book

Journal/Book Title

Water Resources Update

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On May 13, 2002, President Bush signed the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002. This Act will serve as the primary U.S. agricultural legislation through 2008. That's too bad. While the Farm Bill contains several features that deserve applause, the overall structure and strategy of the Bill is still based on the New Deal. You remember, from history class, that was FDR's response to the Great Depression in the 1930s. Price supports, sugar subsidies, peanut quotas, even "mohair" payments can be found in this legislation in good old-fashioned log-rolling and pork-barreling style. What was missed in 2002 was an opportunity to start a new century with a break from an unsuccessful past. Instead we got a return to the past, with some "tweaking"on the margin. For this reason, I think the 2002 Farm Bill deserves a place in this issue of Water Resources IMPACT focusing on failures.

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