The U.S. Farm Bill currently being considered by the U.S. Congress is a multi-billion dollar, farm subsidy bill renewed every five years.
The bill first became law in 1933 as a means of preventing farmers from taking a loss on their annual production of crops--corn, wheat, cotton, rice and soybeans. The government paid farmers the difference between what they sold and what it cost to produce. At the time, it was a brilliant means of "priming the pump" so that farmers could be temporarily shielded from the effects of the Great Depression on their industry.
Today's Farm Bill is a clear example of a government program being continued way beyond its original intention. Essentially, the government now pays farmers to under produce crops in order to charge higher prices. Adding to the controversy is that it gives two-thirds of the subsidy to the top 10 percent of farmers. As with most government programs, bureaucratic self-perpetuation has allowed for this subsidy to become corrupt.
Not surprisingly, the government has it backwards. Why not let the farmers produce as much crops as possible, sell what they can on the world market, and give their surplus to the poor? Whatever they don't sell, the government should pay them for and distribute it among those in poverty.
In a world facing a food crisis never before seen in the history of humankind, we should never halt the production of food under any circumstances.