Specialty crops want their share of farm subsidies

The New York Times yesterday told how the specialty crop producers — those farmers who grow fruits, vegetables, nuts, and other non-commodity crops — feel left out of federal farm subsidy largess and want to get their share. They’ve formed a new coalition to lobby for more than $1 billion in new programs.

That’s not good news. Currently, the large commodity producers of corn, cotton, rice, wheat and soybeans are the ones taxpayers are paying — to the tune of about $15 billion per year. Now the fruit and vegetable farmers think it’s their turn to feed at the public trough. Traditionally, they have been a counterforce to mega-farmers on the public dole — independent and competitive.

The article quoted a Professor Morici at the University of Maryland, who defended the new push for government aid: “Things that help farmers band together and compete are not inherently protectionist or harmful. It is not an unreasonable thing for a fragmented industry to ask the government for assistance to make the virtues of their industry better known.”

Give me a break. How about boutiques in the U.S. getting together to ask for government assistance? After all, how can they compete with the mega-stores?