By Chris Edwards – Re-Blogged From http://www.Cato.org
The U.S. Department of Agriculture imposes extensive regulatory controls on agricultural markets. Some regulations are intended to promote safety and reduce disease, while others restrict commodity supplies and raise consumer prices. The Code of Federal Regulations includes 10,720 pages of rules for the USDA to enforce, covering everything from popcorn promotion to farmers’ markets.1
Consider federal “marketing orders,” which are used for milk, fruits, vegetables, and other products. The USDA says that these regulations are for “enforcing product quality standards, regulating the flow of product to the market, standardizing packages and containers, creating reserve pools for storable commodities, and authorizing production and marketing research and advertising.”2 Marketing orders are also designed to “improve returns to producers,” according to the USDA.3 Unfortunately, those government-generated profits usually come at the expense of American consumers.