FARM SUBSIDIES TOP $28 BILLION Congress quietly approved another infusion of agribusiness subsidies late last year, adding to the billions in emergency funds already appropriated for 2000.
Corporate Welfare to Agribusiness -- Government Sets New Record
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However, this new helping hand from Washington will be extended only to the largest farm corporations.
The federal government distributed a record $28 billion in direct payments to farmers last year, accounting for nearly 50% of all the money made by American farmers in 2000. In eight states, government assistance made up 100 percent of total farm income, according to the New York Times.
Direct payments to agribusiness have tripled since 1996. Nationally, 1.6 million farmers received an average of more than $13,000 each from taxpayers. An individual 'farmer' can get more than $280,000 a year from the government -- money for just being a farmer, money for bad market conditions, money for not making an income on the crop, and money for taking land out of production.
The top 1 percent of agribusiness 'farmers' receive an average of $616,000 from the government, while the top 10 percent of farmers received an average of $308,000 each over the last four years.
Despite these record farm subsidies, farm country is losing farms, people, businesses and jobs. Farm employment has declined by 30 percent in the last two decades.
The latest farm subsidy would double the amount of money that farmers can receive under the government’s loan-deficiency program, which provides subsidies to farmers to make up the difference between a crop’s market price and a set government loan rate to raise the crop.
The largest farm corporations are benefiting most from this subsidy. Many are now eligible to receive $500,000 or more in subsidies. The measure will not provide a penny of additional aid to 99% of American farmers.
In addition to last year’s subsidies, corporate agribusiness and the American Farm Bureau have asked Congress to double federal farm subsidies for this year.
While most Americans do not farm, all Americans, as taxpayers, have a stake in whether U.S. farm policies are working. Currently, the federal government gives out these subsidies without assessing whether they provide the most help for small, medium or large mega-farms. Congress’ latest farm subsidy will not help the farmers that really need support.
The money funnel to corporate agriculture must end. Boosting federal payments to corporate farms does nothing to reduce the financial burden on family farms.
|Paying the rich not to grow crops -- this has been a scandal for more than 20 years! Why doesn't it end? For more on all sorts of corporate welfare handouts, visit the Corporate Welfare Shame Page and/or the Corporate Welfare Search Engine|
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