Should the United States eliminate nearly all of its farm subsidies? For the second installment of our series, we are pleased to collaborate with the A. Craig Baird Debate Forum at the University of Iowa to host a public debate on this question. Started as relief during the Great Depression, farm subsidies aim to encourage growth and stability during times of uncertainty related to the market or weather. Yet, opponents of subsidies suggest they unfairly reward corporate farms, promote unsustainable farming practices, and squeeze-out farmers from developing countries. This controversy has no “easy” answers, but the debate is particularly significant for our community since Iowa received more subsidies (about $22 billion) than any other state since 1995 according to the nonprofit EWG. By considering both perspectives, we should better understand how the very complex issue of farm subsidies impacts farmers, the environment, and access to food.
This event will feature two undergraduate members of the team competing against each other with members of the coaching staff as moderators. The University of Iowa’s A. Craig Baird Debate Forum is one of the oldest programs at the school and dates back to 1861. Since 2001, they have won four national titles, consistently placed as a top 20 team in the country, and held multiple public debates including debates for the Governor’s office, Iowa City government, NGOs in the state of Iowa, and National Public Radio.