Needed: Broad-based Coalition to Fight for Ag Reform

A Financial Times article today points out how difficult U.S. reform of its agricultural programs will be with the collapse of the WTO’s Doha Round. The 2002 Farm Bill expires in 2007, and bringing farm subsidy programs in line with WTO obligations has been a major impetus for reform. Now, without that pressure, prospects are dimming for substantive changes. In fact, farm supporters are calling for an extension of the 2002 legislation instead of a new bill.

Some reformers, like Cal Dooley, president Food Products Association (and soon to be head of the Grocery Manufacturers Association under a merger plan) has said that “a coalition including environmentalists, anti-subsidy development charities such as Oxfam and neglected farmers in areas such as horticulture, wine and livestock would need to come together to effect change.”

CEI has the small beginnings of such a coalition on the U.S. sugar program, the Sugar Reform Alliance, which consists of nonprofit groups of differing ideologies.