Agricultural Economic Report No. (AER-708) 38 pp

April 1995

Honey: Background for 1995 Farm Legislation

This report address considerations in the 1995 farm bill debate for honey, including market conditions, policy proposals, and the interactions between policy and markets for selected commodities. The U.S. Government has supported the price of honey since 1950 by providing market price stability to honey producers to encourage them to maintain honeybee populations sufficient to pollinate important agricultural crops. When honey support prices moved above the average domestic price in the early 1980s, domestic producers found it profitable to forfeit their honey to the Government while packers and industrial users imported lower priced honey for domestic use. Changes made in the program by the Food Security Act of 1985 reduced forfeitures of honey to the Government and made domestic honey competitive with imports. Consequently, imports declined from 138.2 million pounds in 1985 to 55.9 million in 1988. At the same time, Government takeover of forfeited honey declined from 98 million pounds in 1985 to 1.1-3.2 million pounds from 1989 through 1992. Expenditures and takeovers will decline even further in fiscal years 1994 and 1995 with amendments to the Appropriations Acts, which eliminated deficiency payments and loan forfeitures for 1994 and 1995 crop honey.

Keywords: beekeepers, farm programs, honey, honeybees, policies, price supports

In this publication...