Thursday, November 20, 2014

Despite the Farm Bill and a bumper harvest, farmers could get $10 billion in subsidies

Despite a bumper harvest of corn and soybeans and a Farm Bill that was supposed to save taxpayers money, subsidies for farmers could soar to $10 billion this year, double the typical amount of payouts from the previously used direct cash payments to farmers, Ros Krasny and Christine Stebbins report for Reuters. "If payments for 2014, the first year the farm bill takes effect, do come in at that level—as some private economists have calculated—they would be more than 10 times the U.S. Department of Agriculture's working estimate and more than double the forecast by the Congressional Budget Office."

"Farmers will be in line for payouts if revenues fail to meet benchmarks tied to long-term price and production averages," Krasny and Stebbins write. "Both the USDA's and the CBO's estimates were made before crop prices tumbled this year on oversupply from a huge harvest." (Associated Press photo by Seth Perlman: Harvest corn)

Beginning on Monday farmers could start signing up for the compensation programs, Krasny and Stebbins write. "Most participants will be the families who own and operate about 98 percent of all U.S. farms, large and small." Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wisc.) told Reuters, "The (farm) bill actually did little to rein in costs. What we're seeing is a program that still costs far more than it should and fails to include reforms that actually save taxpayer dollars." (Read more)

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