History, people. History.
During the World Wars, the government needed to encourage farming. Troops need to eat. A lot. A food shortage could serious hurt a war effort.
After the WWII, the US continued to encourage US farming because devastated Europe needed to be fed. US officials (wrongly) assumed that it would be a long time before European food production was back to normal.
However, European farming got back on track surprisingly quickly. And the US was left with the overfarming it had encouraged. And so, US farmers needed subsidies and policies to help them from mass bankruptcy.
And yes, I will agree that the subsidies got out of hand and went on too long. And yes, there are abuses in the system. And yes, that the US should have gently discouraged the continued growth of US farming that outpaced demand over the past few decades.
But, consider that the ability to produce higher and higher yields (thanks to modern science) has continually surprised everyone. This leads to even more oversupply and is no one’s fault – but has to be dealt with.
And also consider, that, as mentioned already, overproduction does ensure adequate food supply, even in drought/famine/lean years.
And also consider, that an overproducing US agriculture means that the US doesn’t have to worry about famine in another Great War. Hmmm, I guess that’s not a real issue anymore. But, inertia, you know.
My gripe is the subsidies for tobacco. Only recently is this going by the wayside. It should have been gone within five years of the first Surgeon General’s warning.
My other gripe is subsidizing farms with bad land-use practices – you know who you are, shame on you.
Oh, John, re: milk taste. Yes, different brands of milk have distinct tastes. Depends on the breed of cow and what it’s eating. Clover-fed cows produce a good tasting milk, IMO.
I pray cows never yearn for garlic asparagus.