Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Harvesting Cash: American Farmers Got $35 Billion

For decades, American taxpayers have provided tens of billions of dollars in federal farm subsidies ($35 billion between 2003-2005) to some of the largest and wealthiest farm businesses in the nation. But thousands of people who benefited from the subsidy flow were shielded from public view behind layers of partnerships, joint ventures, limited liability corporations, cooperatives, and other business structures that obscured their personal subsidy claims. Not anymore.

A new online database, developed by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) from millions of previously unpublished USDA subsidy records, provides nearly full disclosure of federal farm subsidy beneficiaries for the first time. The disclosures include individuals, sometimes numbering in the dozens, whose subsidy benefits pass through one or more plantation-scale farm businesses that produce vast quantities of subsidized cotton, rice and other crops. Many of those businesses receive millions in USDA crop subsidies each year, and according to the new USDA data, pass six-figure benefits through to many people. In many cases, these individuals have not previously had subsidy benefits attributed to them by name.

EWG finds that the top 1% of beneficiaries received 17% of the crop subsidy benefits between 2003 and 2005, and their average benefit was $377,484 per person for the 3 program years or over $125,000 apiece annually.


Read more about EWG here, and check out its updated searchable Farm Subsidy database that just became available today.

Read an
AP story here about EWG and the new searchable farm subsidy database.


And who has harvested the most money from farm programs? Who's The King? As revealed in the new data, the current answer to that question is one Maurice Wilder, resident of Florida. Mr. Wilder received a total of $3,217,158 in farm program payments from 2003-2005. Read about
The King of Farm Cash here.

Reminds of an old joke - Q: How do you starve a farmer? A: Weld his mailbox shut.


1 Comments:

At 6/13/2007 1:10 AM, Anonymous Sudha Shenoy said...

I've never read anything so disgusting. That's about $US 11,700 million a year!! Gross Australian farm income in June 2004 was around $US 5,200 million. I.e., you Americans could've had better quality food & industrial crops, at roughly 56% of the price...or even less, from the LDCs.'The power to tax is the power to destroy'...

 

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