Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Agricultural subsidies

Wiki has an excellent article discussing Ag subsidies.

There are a lot of pros and cons regarding such subsidies. I don't mind the idea of farmers having a stable income, when their prosperity (or failure) is so weather-dependent. On the other hand, where I grew up there was an old joke that went something like: "The fastest way to starve a farmer is to weld his mailbox shut". There are many aspects of the issue to like and dislike.

One thing that I *really* dislike about Ag subsidies is how they are distributed. Over half of our taxpayer dollars go to businessmen growing non-food crops! Here is the breakdown, again from Wiki (not a preferred source, but it's easier to find the info than searching the .gov pages) . This info is from 2004.

So there you have it: The top two crop subsidies, Feed Grains and Cotton, get 53.1% or 4.26 Billion of our tax dollars annually - more than all the other fully edible crops combined. "Feed Grains" is corn, sorghum, barley and oats. Uses of these products vary: For human or animal consumption, ethanol production or for export. In the end, however, the dollars go into the pockets of agribusiness.

Isn't it fascinating how the government spends our tax dollars?

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