The Crisis in European and North American Agriculture
This chapter provides an overview of the nature of the crisis facing European and North American agriculture, outlines its economic and structural roots. It summarizes the major market and price policies for agriculture that have arisen in the European Community, the United States, and Canada. The chapter also outlines the pressures for reform of domestic agricultural policies and international agricultural trade, and discusses some major obstacles to achieving the ends. The 1980s have proved to be a most challenging decade for farm families, rural communities, and many of the industries linked to agriculture. Levels of price and income support for US agriculture have varied over time, changing in response to the economic and political environment. The extent of protection and support accorded the Canadian agricultural sector was relatively modest compared to that provided in many other developed countries. The spectrum of policy choices in agriculture in developed nations ranges from complete reliance on free markets to mandatory supply control.