Hey, I'm a farmer and so I should be in favor of farm subsidies. Right?
Actually, farm subsidies simply tax Americans to give them cheap crap to eat and reward millionaire farmers, who spend most of their profits buying out smaller farms and further consolidating the food supply. Over 90% of the US agricultural food subsidy goes to Corn, Wheat, Rice, & Soy (more information). Corn is subsidized to such an extent that it is now being used as a primary finisher for Beef Cattle, not to mention being propped up as a fuel additive.
Raising Grassfed Beef I've gotten a pretty good idea on the costs involved and what it takes to make ends meet for a small to medium sized farm. Operating without agricultural subsidies and taking into account proper land stewardship and working with honest butchers, our prices come in at about double what you can find in your local grocery store. The carbon-monoxide, Ammonia-treated, corn stuffed crap they call ground beef is impossible for us to compete with on price. However, remove the agricultural subsidies, demand proper land stewardship, and proper diet for cattle and small farmers will be at a winning advantage to the corporate farmers while providing a far healthier product (for people and the planet).
I remarked recently at a farmer gathering that we must eliminate agricultural subsides. One person retorted that I better be ready for the $10 bag of Doritos. Ironically, higher prices for Doritos and other corn-derived foodstuffs (sodas, candy, anything with corn-syrup) would solve another major American crisis: obesity. Heck, even the US Military should be behind this one (see article on obesity as a contributing factor to declining number of available recruits).
New Zealand is one of the few modern countries to do away with agricultural subsidies and their experience has been positive, once they got through a rocky transition period (See Rodale Institute Article).