Large Corporate Farms Still Get Bulk of Federal Subsidies

Friday, May 07, 2010
Farm subsidies are not just peanuts

Two years after Congress passed legislation intended to spread subsidies among a wider array of farmers, new information shows large corporate farms are continuing to hog the majority of agricultural welfare.

Data compiled by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) shows 10% of farmers received 62% of federal farm payments in 2009. This distribution wasn’t much different from the years 2007 and 2008, before the reform bill was passed.
Ken Cook, head of EWG, says federal laws have created “an interlocking maze of subsidies that, taken together, force taxpayers to spend billions of dollars no matter what the condition of the farm economy.” Cook adds that the subsidies program aids farms even when crop prices are sky high.
In 2009, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) handed out $15.4 billion in farm subsidies. It was a good year for peanut growers, with the American Peanut Marketing Association leading the list at almost $4 million and Concordia Allied Producers close behind at $3.3 million.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
PROMISES, PROMISES: Rich Farmers Get Most Cash (by Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press)
Government's Continued Bailout of Corporate Agriculture (by Ken Cook, Environmental Working Group)
Total USDA Subsidies in United States, 2009 (Environmental Working Group)


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