NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Farm Subsidies Face Ax

April 19, 2011

Thanks to their influence in Washington and the iconic status of the American farmer, for decades U.S. agriculture enjoyed a sacred place in the federal budget and received massive handouts from Congress.  That may be coming to an end, reports Fox News.

  • Three programs face big cuts: conservation subsides that give farmers money to take marginal lands out of production for wildlife, crop insurance, and direct payments to farmers who plant corn, cotton, wheat, soybean, rice and peanuts.
  • The farmers of these commodities are eligible for government payouts whether they farm or not.
  • Fruit and vegetable farmers are not entitled to direct payments and some corn farmers who are eligible don't take them.

The federal crop insurance program may be the most controversial of the three programs facing cuts.

  • The program costs the federal government $4 billion.
  • Taxpayers pay up to 60 percent of each farmer's insurance premium, in addition to insurance company salaries and sometimes taxpayers help cover losses.

A new tool at calculates how much an individual taxpayer's taxes go to farm subsidies.

Source: William LaJeunesse, "Taxpayer Calculator: Farm Subsidies," Fox News, April 18, 2011.

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