With the passage of a new 5-year farm bill on the horizon and the cost of current farm programs soaring to $1.46 trillion over the next 10 years, it is imperative that Congress seriously consider ways to cut the fat and address the corruption in the American agricultural system.

Since its inception, the Farm Bill has increasingly coddled corporate cronies, stifled innovation, and contributed to the failing health – and wealth – of Americans. As your U.S. senator, I would advocate freeing our farmers from bureaucratic and corporate control, bringing a fresh, market-based approach to federal farm policy.

Wisconsin farmers are resilient and resourceful, uniquely able to prosper despite tough odds. The government can best support Wisconsin’s family farms and foster this resiliency by getting out of the way.

A Market-based Approach

In a true free market, consumer demand would dictate what and how much farmers grow. However, under our current system, public-private partnerships, subsidies, and crop insurance disrupt this natural order. Taxpayer-subsidized crop insurance steers farmers toward commodity crops like corn, soybeans, and wheat, but does not often cover “specialty” crops like fruits and vegetables.

Government insurance programs are designed to incentivize the factory food industry, responding to the wishes of corporate donors rather than the needs of farmers and the health of the American people. The insidious effects of the factory food industry (corn, high fructose corn syrup, in particular) on the American diet are well-documented, contributing to serious chronic health conditions like diabetes, liver and heart disease, and obesity.

We need to fundamentally change the way we think about farming in the United States – removing the lucrative government incentives to plant corn and other commodity crops and encouraging organic, independent, and environmentally sustainable farming practices that promote public health and preserve the land.

Cut the Pork and Cancel Cronyism

With an annual federal deficit of over a trillion dollars, enough is enough. Congress needs to cut the fat, and the Farm Bill has plenty. If elected, I would advocate to:

  1. Eliminate commodity programs. By removing government handouts for crops such as corn and soybeans, the CBO estimates we could save nearly $50 billion over the next decade.
  2. Remove SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) from the Farm Bill. Separating SNAP – which accounts for three-quarters of the Farm Bill package – would allow both policies to pass or fail on their own merits and not use either as bait for passage of the other.
  3. Privatize crop insurance. I would fight to eliminate cronyism in the Farm Bill by taking steps toward privatizing crop insurance. Through crop insurance, the government picks winners and losers instead of the market. Crops, farms, and practices that would not otherwise prosper are supported and encouraged at taxpayer expense. In this corrupt system, taxpayers subsidize 60 cents of every insurance premium dollar; subsidize the corporations that provide the insurance; and then protect the identities of the wealthy corporations who receive the subsidies.
  4. Eliminate corporate influence. The undue influence of corporations – like Monsanto – has long distorted agricultural policy to serve special interests at the expense of family farms and consumer choice. If elected, I would call out this cronyism and expose the ways corporations are controlling Congress and in turn our food supply.


From 2011-2022, the federal government paid private insurance companies $36.6 billion – a whopping one-third of the program’s total cost. The USDA strikes deals with insurance companies in which an automatic 14.5% profit margin is achieved on all insurance policies. This rate of return is much higher than the rate of return for policy sales in other industries. I believe that contracts should be awarded based on cost and performance, not as a handout in exchange for political support.

While it is true that insuring crops is a uniquely risky business, there is a way forward without taxpayers footing the bill. A few countries, most notably New Zealand, have blazed this trail and proven that a robust agricultural economy is possible without public subsidies. If elected, I propose we stop sending billions of taxpayer dollars to unaccountable, multi-national corporations and let the market provide this important stopgap to farmers.


When the government picks winners and losers, taxpayers always lose. In order to really get serious about regaining control of our food, our health, and our economy, we need to first get serious about rooting out the influence of corporate interests in our policymaking. As your senator, I would vow to always put the interests of Wisconsin’s families and hardworking taxpayers first, not wealthy, multi-national corporate donors.