It is not difficult to justify an analysis of agricultural policy. If a ‘problem exists when an indeterminate situation, present or projected, is regarded as unsatisfactory and a more satisfactory alternative is sought’,1 then the formulation and implementation of the farming policies of many developed countries are overdue for examination. It would not be easy to identify a significant period of time since the 1930s in which public policy towards agriculture has not been an issue in politics. Certainly, from the mid-1960s onwards, a coherent farm policy has been deemed important enough to require valuable space in the election manifestos and political platforms of the major political parties throughout the world. Much of John F. Kennedy’s campaign in 1960 for the Presidency of the United States, for example, was allocated to discussing alternative agricultural policies. Similarly, the British referendum of 1975 on membership of the European Community was fought basically on the merits and demerits of the Community’s common agricultural policy (CAP).
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