Agri Culture and Government

Industrial Agricultural and Subsidies

  • Chris Edwards
April 16, 2018

The federal government spends more than $20 billion a year on subsidies for farm businesses. About 39 percent of the nation’s 2.1 million farms receive subsidies, with the lion’s share of the handouts going to the largest producers of corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, and rice.1

The government protects farmers against fluctuations in prices, revenues, and yields. It subsidizes their conservation efforts, insurance coverage, marketing, export sales, research, and other activities. Federal aid for crop farmers is deep and comprehensive.

However, agriculture is no riskier than many other industries, and it does not need an array of federal subsidies. Farm subsidies are costly to taxpayers, but they also harm the economy and the environment. Subsidies discourage farmers from innovating, cutting costs, diversifying their land use, and taking other actions needed to prosper in the competitive economy.


It’s just the curse of a commodity business. We made all the focus on production, and all the economics, the subsidies, are tied to production. We have a production-focused agriculture policy.”


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