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Published March 01, 2011, 01:41 AM

Time to remove farmers from annual entitlements

ALEXANDRIA, Minn. — The debate about farm entitlements needs to start with farm subsidies.

By: Alan H Roebke,

ALEXANDRIA, Minn. — The debate about farm entitlements needs to start with farm subsidies.

Why? Agriculture is a microcosm of our economy and government policy. Farmers and landowners enjoy massive wealth from both super profitable production and gains in net worth.

Congress and the president need to understand the nation’s three major subsidized crops — corn, soybeans and wheat — had a combined farm market value of $47 billion for the 2005 crop.

USDA now is estimating the market value of the 2010 crop of corn, soybeans and wheat at $119 billion, or 2½ times more revenue than five years ago. Yet, farmers continue to receive $5 billion annually in direct taxpayer subsidies to further increase farm income.

Record revenues

These congressional perks continue with another $5 billion annually in crop insurance premium subsidies, even with record crop revenue and profits. This revenue surge is not new.

For crop years 2007 to ’09, USDA numbers show these three crops had average annual revenue of $94 billion compared with $49 billion for crop years 2003 to ’05. At the very least, taxpayers need to demand farm subsidy cuts are front and center.

Our government’s own numbers show it’s time to wean the farmer of $10 billion in annual entitlement

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