Farm Subsidies Harmful to Farmers


The Heritage Foundation features an analysis of how farm subsidies are bad for consumers, taxpayers, and even farmers.

Here are some of their points:

Farm subsidies are intended to alleviate farmer poverty, but the majority of subsidies go to commercial farms with average incomes of $200,000 and net worths of nearly $2 million.

Farm subsidies are intended to raise farmer incomes by remedying low crop prices. Instead, they promote overproduction and therefore lower prices further.

Farm subsidies are intended to help struggling family farmers. Instead, they harm them by excluding them from most subsidies, financing the consolidation of family farms, and raising land values to levels that prevent young people from entering farming.

Farm subsidies are intended to be consumer-friendly and taxpayer-friendly. Instead, they cost Americans billions each year in higher taxes and higher food costs.

I grew up on a farm and married into a ranch family, so I’ve seen a lot of this firsthand. A lot of small farmers struggle to make ends meet (we did), but a lot of farmers–especially those lined up at the taxpayer gravy train–do quite well. You can often tell which kind are which by the truck they drive, like the new Ford F150 that looks like it’s never even been close to the field or pasture.

The piece also provides some insight into the history of farm subsidies:

When President Frank?lin D. Roosevelt introduced farm subsidies in the 1930s, Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace called them “a temporary solution to deal with an emergency.”

Like most “temporary” programs started by FDR and other socialists, government giveaways seldom see a sunset.

But centrally controlled farming is a bad deal. If the sad state of family farming in America isn’t enough to reveal this, ask some Soviet farmers. Oh, the Soviet Union isn’t around anymore, is it?

2 Responses to “Farm Subsidies Harmful to Farmers”

  1. Large corporate farms are closer to the style of communist collective farms than a multitude of small farms.

    The problem is the pay limit. $250,000 even without allowing multiple entities for the same operation is insanely high. If the idea is to actually maintain family farms and the competition that presents in the way of keeping commodity prices low, then the subsidy limit should be a lot closer to $25,000 than $250,000.

    And thanks for putting a link to Dakota Today here. I will try to get a link to your rather conservative but generally civil perspective here.

  2. I agree, Douglas, that the corporate farms resemble collectivist farms more than the small farms. However, I was talking about the fact that the whole farming industry is being managed centrally by the government.

    I also concur with your opinion that those amounts should be lower–if they’re going to exist at all.

    And finally, thanks for your kind words. I try to be civil every now and then, just to stay in practice. 🙂 Thanks for the link.