Agriculture economist John Zaremba thinks it’s time to stop being afraid of groceries.
The National Crop Insurance Program is designed to help farmers, ranchers and ranchers, but Zaremberg, a University of Wisconsin-Madison economist, says there are many ways for farmers to reduce the costs of their food.
He says the government should pay for more affordable grocery stores that provide more local produce and more affordable produce, like fresh produce from local farms, that can be eaten at home.
“There are many more ways to lower costs that aren’t necessarily food stamps, aren’t just through increased access to fresh produce,” he said.
“If we get rid of the need for government assistance to buy a bunch of groceries, we would be doing that by eliminating food stamps.”
For the last 10 years, Zarembs work has shown the government pays farmers more than it provides for food.
In the past 10 years alone, the government paid farmers about $9 billion in crop insurance premiums, more than all the other sources combined.
“I think the food stamp program is a really inefficient way of delivering food to farmers and rancher,” he says.
The USDA’s Farm Bureau, the country’s largest food stamp recipient, has said it is currently trying to reduce costs by changing its model.
USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue told farmers in October that USDA has started to offer more market-based subsidies to farmers.
The cost of food stamps is also rising because of the rise in food prices, which is pushing some Americans to skip the grocery checkout and eat at home rather than buying groceries.
Zaremberg believes that the government needs to be doing more.
“It’s not as simple as just offering incentives to farmers or ranchers,” he told NBC News.
“It has to be a complete overhaul of the entire system.”
Zarembas own three grocery stores and he is one of the few economists in the country who has shown that the current system is inefficient and costly to taxpayers.
He said the federal government needs a more efficient and cost-effective food subsidy system.
The government pays for about 40 percent of the cost of groceries for the average American, according to Zaremgs work.
The rest is paid by the states, and in some cases, by individuals.
Zaresmba, a former deputy director of the USDA’s Food Security Administration, said he believes the federal subsidy system should be reformed, and that the federal Food Security Act should be changed to help the states.
The act, passed in 1986, allows the federal Treasury to pay for food stamps and other food benefits that are paid for by state and local governments.
The bill also provides for a farm bill that provides farmers with tax incentives for crops, including higher prices for food that are sold at retail, as well as more food assistance for consumers.
Zarremba also believes the government has been spending too much on food stamps.
“The federal government spends a lot on food assistance programs and a lot of that money goes to states,” he wrote in a letter to the House Ways and Means Committee.
“That money is being spent on food and nutrition programs that have not been proven to increase the availability of food, but that are needed to provide subsidies to feed the hungry and provide incentives for farmers and other small farmers to purchase food locally,” he added.
“The federal food assistance program is not being funded effectively and is not providing the amount of food that is needed.”
The USDA is not the only federal agency that has a vested interest in helping farmers.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perry has long called the current food stamp system a failure and says it is unsustainable.
“As a nation, we have failed the American farmer and rancour,” Perry said in a recent speech.
“We’ve lost a lot.”
Zarenbates farm bill proposal calls for the USDA to provide farmers with a direct subsidy of about $5 per bushel of corn.
In addition to the subsidy, the bill would also allow the USDA, through its Agricultural Research Service, to purchase crops at lower prices, reduce subsidies, and offer tax incentives to states and small farms.
Zarenmba said he would be more supportive of the farm bill if the federal program were more cost-efficient.
“But if it was the case that we needed more subsidies to support the farmers, we’d need to spend more on that program,” he argued.
The Agriculture Department does not provide any subsidies directly to farmers, but its farm insurance program does provide a subsidy to some farmers.
Zaringmba argues that the USDA needs to provide more support for small farmers, because it needs to support their production and increase their income to compete with the large grocery chains.