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U.S. Seeks to Lower Price of Farm Crops

January 14, 1986|From the Washington Post

WASHINGTON — Agriculture Secretary John R. Block on Monday announced the first details of 1986 federal farm programs intended to drastically lower the prices of basic crops, require massive retirement of land from production and increase the cost of federal subsidies for farmers by billions of dollars.

Block and other Agriculture Department officials said they expect the lower crop prices to persuade record numbers of farmers to seek the federal government's income subsidies, known as deficiency payments.

Last year, income subsidies given to corn and wheat farmers were in the $3.5-billion range, but the programs announced Monday could push those costs this year to $8.8 billion or more, according to Daniel G. Amstutz, undersecretary for international affairs and commodity programs.

The new policy is intended to make U.S. farmers more competitive in world markets by lowering crop prices to "market clearing" levels.

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