Carpe Diem

Harvesting cash from taxpayers: $1T farm bill will deliver pork to millionaire farmers — $1B per page over 10 years

The video above and this report below are from CBS News:

When the Senate votes on passing the new bipartisan farm bill today, it’s deciding on $956 billion tax dollars in spending over 10 years (Note: the bill just passed 68-32). The bill itself is 949 pages. That averages out to over a billion dollars per page.

The farm bill has long been a target of taxpayer watchdog groups who criticize many provisions as welfare for corporate giants and special interests. According to US PIRG, the confederation of state Public Interest Research Groups, four percent of agribusiness collected 74 percent of the farm bill subsidies in recent years. Some of the biggest recipients of farm subsidies include Tyson’s Food, Pilgrim’s Pride and Riceland Foods.

“At a time of supposed fiscal caution, this bill would put taxpayers on the hook for another five years of billion-dollar handouts to huge, profitable agribusiness,” says PIRG’s Dan Smith. “These subsidies are pure and simple a boon for special interests, at the expense of average taxpayers.”

According to the USDA, the $1 trillion farm bill will provide “a dependable safety net for America’s farmers, ranchers and growers. It would maintain important agricultural research, and ensure access to safe and nutritious food for all Americans.”

And yet, according to data from the USDA’s website, it’s not clear that Big Farm really needs a “dependable safety net.” The combined net income of US farmers more than doubled over the last four years, from $60.4 billion in 2009 to an all-time high last year of $131 billion (see brown bars in the chart below). Further, Big Farm’s net worth reached an all-time high last year of $2.7 trillion (see blue bars below), which works out to an average of more than $1.2 million in net worth for each of the nation’s 2.17 million farmers. In other words, the average farmer in America today is a millionaire based on net worth – do they really still need taxpayer life support? 

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14 thoughts on “Harvesting cash from taxpayers: $1T farm bill will deliver pork to millionaire farmers — $1B per page over 10 years

    • When I was building houses in Brisbane a few years ago, I kept meeting farmers who wanted to either buy rental properties in the lucrative Brisbane market, or wanted work done on their houses , but didn’t want to pay very much. So when you travel in rural australia, you also see a lot of stinking rich farmers, who own a dozen or so rental houses, on the edge of their farms. Many tenants are unemployed, or on minimal part time wages. Its the edge of a medieval Feudal lord system. Oh and which group is fighting the hardest against Fracking in Australia ? Farmers. It will rely upset their nice little status quo. My rather well paid G.P. brother [ rural private practice, Ka -ching ], has bought a 1500 acre property. We plan to build a car racing circuit . So we want more fracking.

  1. ” … four percent of agribusiness collected 74 percent of the farm bill subsidies in recent years.”

    The average farmer receives very little in subsidies. Most of this money passes through to shareholders who live disproportionately in urban areas.

  2. Why on earth would you want to limit subsidies to small farmers? They don’t kick back money to congressmen; wealthy farm corps do.

    • How about we remove the middle man. No more government farm subsidies, and people that want to give money to farmers (like you) can just give it to them directly.

      How much should we put you down for?

      • Not being a Congressman I have no interest in subsidies to anyone of any kind. But if I WERE a congressman I’d be all over it using as much of your money as I could.

  3. This farm bill actually just the tip of the iceberg of rural subsidies.
    Rural America is day-glo pink in federal lard, from roads, to water systems, power, telephones, railroads, airports, postal service and much of defense and VA outlays.
    There is no economy more mollycoddled, subsidized and enfeebled than that of Rural America—they should fly the hammer and sickle in North Dakota, a state that receives $25k net per capita in federal spending.

    • State personal income in the past six quarters has increased mostly in “red” states and states run by Republican governors, TheBlaze reported earlier this month.

      However, after TheBlaze noted this trend, a few readers argued that this was because “red” states typically receive the lion’s share of federal funding.

      Do they really?

      In a word: No. In fact, since 2000, solid “blue” states have received far more in federal funding than solid “red” states, a Blaze analysis finds.The Blaze

  4. The USDA=Union of Soviet Department of Agrikulture.
    Read up on Henry Wallace. Wouldn’t surprise me if there was a bust of Marx at USDA HQ…

  5. Peanut and cotton farmers can relax now because of the 2014 Farm Bill:

    “The bill creates a stand-alone revenue protection coverage program for cotton growers. It also creates a separate peanut revenue insurance with an effective price for peanut growers.”

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