Thursday, July 19, 2007

Rich Farmers Harvesting Cash, Hooked on Subsidies

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.

According to this report, "Farm subsidies have been distributed to Fortune 500 companies such as John Hancock Life Insurance ($2,849,799) and Westvaco ($534,210); as well as celebrity hobby farmers like David Rockefeller ($553,782) and Ted Turner ($206,948). Even Members of Congress who vote on farm legislation have received subsidies, such as Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa, $225,041) and Rep. John Salazar (D-Colo., $161,084)."

And if you think small farmers also benefit, think again.

"Small farmers are harmed the most by farm subsidies. Excluded from most subsidies, they must endure the lower crop prices, higher farmland costs and industry consolidation that result from subsidies to agribusiness."

Michigan farmers received about $247 million in direct payments from the federal government in 2006, according to this report. But now get this:

With corn prices above $3 a bushel this summer and occasionally reaching as high as $4, growers are worried that the U.S. House Agriculture Committee could approve a new five-year farm bill that trims federal farm subsidies.

Farmers are now "porkaholics," addicted to subsidies!


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