Senate Farm Bill helps largest 10% of farm operations | Citizens Against Government Waste
The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

Senate Farm Bill helps largest 10% of farm operations

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


Despite the election year rhetoric about fiscal discipline and deficits, as well as  advancing free-markets and trade, many lawmakers have sided with the influential farm lobby to continue doling out multi-millions of dollars to corporate agribusinesses instead of protecting taxpayers and the small and medium farms that make up rural America. 

recent EWG analysis of USDA data found that nearly 28,000 farmers received a subsidy or disaster payment every year for the last 32 years, totaling more than $19 billion.

Either these 28,000 farmers are extraordinarily unsuccessful, or what is supposed to be a farm safety net is being taken advantage of and has become a generator for guaranteed income.

What the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste wants in the Senate Farm Bill is simple: less taxpayer waste and abuse, a reduced budgetary footprint, and substantial reform of the Title 1 commodity programs.

When it comes to farm subsidies, the Senate Farm Bill stays the course of current handouts. About $14 billion in subsidy payments will continue to go to large agribusiness farms through the agricultural risk coverage and price loss coverage programs. Almost 70% of those subsidies will be given to the largest 10% of farm operations, and about 70% of these subsidies will go to farm businesses producing corn, soybeans and wheat.

Once payments to cotton, peanuts, and rice growers are included, these six crops accounts for 94% of all subsidy program payments.

Additionally, if the Farm Bill returns cotton to a Title 1 commodity classification, it opens the United States to another World Trade Organization challenge. The last WTO challenge cost taxpayers $800 million.

Further, CCAGW remains concerned about how lawmaker’s fears over trade retaliation from the White House could shape this bill.

American tariffs on steel and aluminum imports are expected to generate retaliation that might hurt American farm exports. Some Members of Congress are looking to use the Farm Bill as way to inoculate farmers from market fluctuations that may occur from these tariffs.

These lawmakers are looking to use trade concerns as an excuse to increase crop insurance and other wasteful subsidy programs. This is simply going in the wrong direction for the American people.

Taxpayers are not served by a Farm Bill that relaxes program participation rules, eliminates any meaningful payment cap, and continues to depend on heavily subsidized crop insurance.

 

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