First - disclosure. I'm applying to a USDA program that helps farmers buy land. This program offers loans at an attractive interest rate -- 2% -- and it's designed to help small farmers -- which I am. The lower interest rate is a subsidy. As I work through that program I'm finding that the paperwork is how you pay for that lower interest rate. It's been interesting.
First, I'd like you to go to the web page at the end of this paragraph. At the bottom you'll find a "zip code" field. Type in your zip code if you're a US resident, and it will come up with the names of the people in your zip code who have recieved the most subsidy money. You'll find the link here.
Now notice that when you click on one of those people, it will list the amount and type of subsidy that they have recieved. There's "disaster subsidy" and "crop subsidy".
I'm not really clear on what this is. The amount here is never bigger than the crop subsidy, and I suspect it relates to a payment for the partial or total loss of the crop.
This one is the one where most of the money is paid out. What basically happens here is that the government gaurantees a minimum price for a list of commodity crops, and if the market price falls below that you get a check, or you get some sort of payment for growing that crop.
Here's a quote from a farm subsidy primer:
Current law requires USDA to offer support for wheat, feed grains (corn, sorghum,
barley, oats), cotton (upland and extra-long staple–ELS), rice, soybeans, other oilseeds
(sunflower seed, canola, rapeseed, safflower, flaxseed, mustard seed), milk, peanuts, beet
and cane sugar, wool, mohair, honey, dry peas, lentils, small chickpeas, and tobacco.
We're subsidizing the production of wool and mohair - I had no idea. Peanuts I knew about -- mostly through Jimmy Carter. If you want to read the primer, you'll find it here.
So we offer payments for various cereal crops -- but we also subsidize meat. You can get a check for pigs, lambs, and cattle.
I don't have a conclusion here. I'm buying into the subsidy program myself by applying for this loan program. Thought you might be interested that most of everything that you eat is directly subsidized.
19 hours ago