Please Explain: Farm Subsidies

Friday, May 09, 2008

Find out how farm subsidies work, who gets them, and how they affect the prices of the food that reaches our tables. Dan Morgan is an investigative reporter for the Washington Post and co-author of Harvesting Cash, a year-long series on waste and abuse in the farm-subsidy program which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for public service in 2007. Catherine Richert is the Agricultural reporter at The Congressional Quarterly.


Dan Morgan and Catherine Richert

Comments [10]

Leeam from Manhattan

You haven't explicitly discussed the fact that the farm subsidies in the US (coupled with rise in demand for agrofuels) is one of the direct causes of the global rise in food prices. We have an international responsibility toward 100 million people who are going to be food insecure because of the rising price of food, partly as part of our policies.

May. 09 2008 01:50 PM
Diana Finch from Bronx, NY

Please explain more about who the lobbyists are and who they work for, and the role of large corporations like ADM and Conagra in lobbying and farm subsidies.

May. 09 2008 01:50 PM
Alex from NYC

I think I saw this guest on PBS talking about the space shuttle - when the shuttle exploded over Texas, somehow this triggered farm payments all over the state.

May. 09 2008 01:48 PM
Helen from Manhattan

Has the funding for the Food Stamp Program been linked to the farm subsidies since its inception? If not, since when, and how did that evolve?

May. 09 2008 01:46 PM
Gary from Manhattan

Leonard, please ask your guests why people living in Manhattan are receiving farm subsidies. See:

May. 09 2008 01:39 PM
Jeffrey Slott from East Elmhurst

The idea that food stamps are linked with farm subsidies is just one example of how badly our government works. When I budget myself I don't include the money I spend on food with the money I spend on rent with the money I spend on utility bills with the money I spend on medical items. This kind of nonsense needs to be done away with.

May. 09 2008 01:33 PM
Jon P. from Hewitt, NJ

I dont see to many farmers driving around in Cadillac’s except for the one’s that sold their land for housing development. Who really does get all this subsidy money?

May. 09 2008 01:29 PM
RJ from Brooklyn

Current farm subsidies started as a New Deal program that was set up to support farmers during bad seasonal changes. It also provided them with a political base, as populists, which Nixon Agr Sect Earl Butz was opposed to, so he changed it to the current yield-based program, which favors agribusiness.

Also, massive cattle farmers also help set prices and output because they use massive amounts of corn etc to feed their cattle, even though cattle are not corn eaters by nature.

May. 09 2008 01:27 PM
RJ from Brooklyn


Farm subsidies replaced a New Deal era program to support farms that hit problems during seasonal troubles; it also provided small farms with a populist political base that Nixon Agriculture Secty Earl Butz was against, so he replaced it with the current yield-based subsidy program that favors agribusiness.

May. 09 2008 01:22 PM
hjs from 11211

do most farm subsidies got to big argo business or small family farms?

May. 09 2008 12:33 PM

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