25 Feb 2009

Farm Subsidies

DH sent me thing VERY interesting link on WHO gets farm subsidies. Here are some California facts:
  • $6.24 billion in subsidies 1995-2006.
  • California ranking: 10 of 50
  • 91 percent of all farmers and ranchers do not collect government subsidy payments in California, according to USDA.
  • Among subsidy recipients, ten percent collected 73 percent of all subsidies amounting to $4.55 billion over 12 years.
  • Recipients in the top 10% averaged $83,692 in annual payments between 1995 and 2006. The bottom 80 percent of the recipients saw only $1,830 on average per year.
The top recipient in California is the Farmers Rice Coop, which received payments totaling $146,174,314 from 1995 through 2006 -- all for growing rice.

You can click around to get data by crop, state, etc...

Bottom Line: Subsidies keep bad farmers in business, divert resources (labor, water, capital and knowledge) to the wrong crops, and weaken agriculture as an economic sector. The only thing they do is reinforce the iron triangle of corruption among agro-businesses, lobbyists and politicians. End the subsidies!