Agricultural Regulations and Trade Barriers

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.

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Toward Free Trade in Sugar

By Daniel R. Pearson – Re-Blogged From http://www.cato.org

For decades, political support for the U.S. sugar program has been underpinned by the general sense that the costs of producing sugar in this country are quite high relative to prices prevailing in world markets. Thus, the elimination of government support would lead to the certain death of the sugar industry. Recent analysis indicates that this view simply is not correct. Rather, the U.S. industry would continue to produce sugar economically in the absence of government support.

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