Farm Bill

1:02am

Fri April 26, 2013
Planet Money

The Lollipop War

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 4:59 pm

Spangler Candy via Flickr

I recently got a tour of the Spangler Candy Co., a family-owned firm in Bryan, Ohio. The company makes 10 million Dum Dums lollipops there every day, and it has a whole separate building where it stores the sugar — enough to fill eight Olympic-size swimming pools.

The CEO, Kirk Vashaw, says he wants to expand the factory and make even more candy there. There's just one thing he needs.

"Let us buy sugar on the free market," he says.

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3:33pm

Thu March 28, 2013
Business

Farm Bill's Sugar Subsidy More Taxing Than Sweet, Critics Say

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 9:55 pm

While many people enjoy sweet treats — like these chocolate bunnies — the price of a key ingredient has some people bitter. A government subsidy program is criticized for keeping sugar prices too high. But as prices fall, the government may buy sugar to help processors.
Toby Talbot AP

While you indulge in some Easter Peeps and chocolates this weekend, you might want to think about all that sugar. No, this isn't a calorie warning. In the U.S., raw sugar can cost twice the world average.

Critics say U.S. sugar policy artificially inflates sugar prices to benefit an exclusive group of processors — even though it leads to higher food prices. But this year, prices fell anyway. Now, the government could be poised to use taxpayer dollars to buy up the excess sugar.

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4:13pm

Wed January 9, 2013
Agriculture

Drought Assistance Designated For 43 Colorado Counties

Nigel Jones Wikimedia Commons

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has designated 597 counties in 14 states as primary natural disaster areas due to drought and heat. All qualified farm operators within those areas will be eligible for low-interest emergency loans.

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4:52pm

Tue January 8, 2013
The Salt

Farm Bill Critics Claim Partial Victory Despite Stalemate

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 8:20 am

Peanut plants grow on a Halifax, N.C., farm that received federal subsidies in 2011.
Robert Willett MCT /Landov

It's amazing how many different kinds of people have been trying to abolish or at least change the government's payments to farmers. They include economists, environmentalists, taxpayer advocates, global anti-hunger advocates and even a lot of farmers. Some have been fighting farm subsidies for the past 20 years.

This past year, those critics laid siege to offices on Capitol Hill because the law that authorizes these programs — the farm bill — was about to expire. (It has to be renewed every five years.)

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3:51pm

Tue January 1, 2013
The Two-Way

Inside The Fiscal Cliff Budget Compromise Bill: Tax Cuts and Tax Hikes

Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 4:44 am

The budget compromise bill that is meant to allow the U.S. government to avoid higher tax rates and austere budget cuts has tax rates as its central issue, with discussions about more spending cuts, and the federal debt limit, put off until the coming weeks.

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