The crisis agriculture faces today is no accident. It is the direct result of expanding productive capacity while ignoring the need for policies to manage the use of that capacity. US farm policy removed set-asides, crop reserves, and price support tools, leaving no way to deal with low prices, except for emergency government payments to compensate for farmer income losses. As price supports were phased out and eventually replaced with marketing loans and income support payments, crop prices tumbled to depths not seen since the 1970s. Long-standing expectations about just how low prices could be driven are now in question, with no real bottom in sight and thus, no pressure to drive up prices despite tight world supply.
Source: "Executive Summary," Rethinking US Agricultural Policy: Changing Course to Secure Farmer Livelihoods Worldwide, September 2003, 2