Rep. Blumenauer proposes shift in farm programs away from large agri-businesses

"The core principles are to reduce the flow of money to the largest agribusiness interests, which short-changes the majority of farmers and ranchers who receive virtually no assistance from direct commodity payments, the expensive web of programs to shield farmers from market forces and of course the unusual program of crop insurance, which pays more to insurance agents than to farmers."

Blumenauer said the proposals in his report, titled "Growing Opportunities," would also help improve U.S. trade policies, which are often hampered by the insistence that billions are spent to prop up various aspects of U.S. agriculture. He noted in particular U.S. cotton subsidies, which the World Trade Organization says are illegal and which forced the U.S. to pay Brazil compensation because it is unable to eliminate these subsidies.

"It would stop the insanity of giving $1.5 billion to Brazilian cotton farmers over the next 10 years because we don't have the courage and the political will stop giving support to American cotton farmers, which has been deemed illegal," Blumenauer said of his proposals.

The current farm bill expires in 2012, and Congress is expected to begin work on a new five-year farm program early next year.