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Consumers 6, Producers 0

If I may play the H.G. Wells role as future seer, here's my prediction of "Things to Come" in Vermont-

The Vermont Legislature, now composed overwhelmingly of politicians beholden to a new exurban-consumer-majority constituency, will soon override the governor's recent veto of a Golden Dome decision to renege somewhat on its earlier promise of continuing a modest financial incentive to farmers to keep on farming via the Current Use program.

Since urbanites became the voting majority in the U.S., the general trend of governmental farm policy has been to purchase consumer votes by making food ever cheaper.

In inflation-adjusted terms, the policy offers a range of subsidies to keep producers producing. Now the game is to see how much the subsidies can be cut back without reducing supply.

The existence of a national cheap food policy has been denied by all the usual suspects in government and advocacy (such as Carol Tucker Foreman, a power in both the Consumer Federation of America and the USDA), but the historical facts are there for those who wish to read them; the more recent events-in-evidence are still remembered by many, mostly with a connection to farming today-the massive federal legal retaliation against the National Farmers' Organization (after 20 years the government court case collapsed, but the intended financial damage to NFO was permanent) for moving members' milk among competing markets.

For a single publication illustrating the urbanite-dominated governmental view of ag economics, I found none better than the "Agricultural Food Policy Review of 1981". All the policies and preferences in that 30-year-old book prevail today.

On page 45 you'll find the USDA position on profitable commodity prices: not necessary if farmland values are rising.

On page 56 you'll find the allegiance to ever-lower consumer food prices.

On page 100 you'll read that export embargoes are ok to prevent domestic food price increases, and on page 126 you'll read that exceeding import-quota levels for the same reason is just fine.

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