American Enterprise Institute is staging events to sway Congress to enact a new farm bill that has no resemblance to any previous farm bill.

“As members of Congress and their staff begin to craft the 2012 farm bill reauthorization, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) releases the result of original research by agricultural experts and economists on key sections of the farm bill. With billions of dollars at stake, this series of 12 papers commissioned by AEI examines how taxpayer money is spent, and how existing flawed programs can be reformed. Topics range from ethanol, crop insurance, disaster aid, sugar and dairy programs, agriculture R&D, to conservation and trade and the impact on the global poor,” the institute announced in a news release.

AEI is pegging its negative analysis of past farm bill programs on the credibility of Vincent H. Smith, a professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Montana State University. AEI says Smith also serves as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Smith served as the leader in organizing those contrary to recent farm policy to write papers and speak at policy discussions in Washington, D.C., during the week of July 12-15.

The events and “papers” are all part of publicity to attract attention by members of Congress, especially non-rural congressmen and their staff who might be easily swayed to vote against a small segment of the total U.S. government budget as a way to trim the total budget.

The events are being held under the banner of “American Boondoggle Events” and fixing the 2012 farm bill. AEI contends the 2008 farm bill cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $307 billion and says the farm bill is a place to cut wasteful spending from the budget.

“Since the Great Depression, lobbying by farmers has proved particularly lucrative but has threatened to detach agriculture from the goal of efficiently producing food for consumers. Today, farm policy consists of an array of subsidies, regulations, spending programs, and land-use restrictions that are widely blamed for the increased cost of food, environmental degradation, fiscal burdens and the failure of global trade negotiations,” AEI wrote in advertising the events.  

The event and paper titles are “Subsidy Myths Survive Decades After the Depression,” “The Shocking Truth About Ethanol and Title I,” “Conservation, Trade Policies Hit Poorest in the World,” “The Broken System of Crop Insurance and Disaster Aid,” “Subsidy Funds Could Grow R&D,” and “Not So Sweet: Sugar, Milk Programs Are Sour for Families.”   

Topic information, details about the authors, and the location and time for each discussion are available by going to the AEI Web site: www.aei.org. According to AEI, some events will be live streamed and videos of all events will be available on the AEI Web site.