McTeague: Farmers Only Prosper When the Government Gets Out Of The Way

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WASHINGTON AG NETWORK – GLENN VAAGEN – What will it take for the American farmer to enjoy success and growth into the future?  If you ask Maurice McTeague, former farmer and member of the New Zealand parliament, the government needs to get out of the way.  While he was in office, the New Zealand government cut subsidies to farmers, and many others in the nation’s economy.

McTeague told the Washington Ag Network government interference in the agricultural sector meant farmers never did that well.

“We weren’t running a market economy, we were actually running a controlled or centrally planned economy.  And that meant that investment wasn’t going in the right place and people weren’t innovating enough, they weren’t being creative enough, because normally government policy is designed to make you do something you really didn’t want to do in the first place.”

McTeague said once the government got out of the way of farmers, growers were able to make their own decisions, which served them better in the long-run.  McTeauge acknowledged the first couple of years after subsidies were cut were challenging and several farms went under.

He says the U.S. would be wise to cut many of the subsidies offered to the ag industry right now.  He said for those who are worried life after subsidies.

“What I’d say to them is I don’t think they actually know how much additional money is out there in the marketplace if they can A.) for a start get access to the right markets B.) they can do it in a way that they can customize the product to get more money for it.”

McTeague said because of those changes, and an open market, New Zealand farming has prospered and grown.

Posted By: Glenn Vaagen on: February 23, 2018

Washington Ag Network

Photo: Glenn Vaagen