Joe Raben harvests corn on land he farms with his father and uncle Oct. 4, 2008, near Carmi, Ill. Some farmers say technological improvements and farming mechanization, not subsidies, are responsible for increased output.
Bill Raben loads a grain truck as he helps to harvest corn on land he farms with his brother Oct. 4, 2008, near Carmi, Illinois. Raben's family has been farming in the area for four generations. Farm subsidies are just one way the government can influence farming – there is a wide array of federal programs – some programs have the effect of lowering prices while others cause an increase.