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Abstract

To the layman, U.S. farm policy may seem ironic. Why write lengthy and complex farm bills and offer billions in financial support to help put seeds in the ground and tend them through harvest? There seems to be little memory of the harsh, cyclical waves of boom and bust that preceded the first Agricultural Adjustment Acts of the Great Depression. Further, the public's demand for a safe, continuous, and cheap food supply can be difficult to meet when harvests are annual, and when yields vary dramatically due to unforeseeable environmental changes including heat, rainfall, and pests.

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