USDA: Oversubsidizing and Underinvesting

A new study from the Center for Rural Affairs: An Analysis of USDA Farm Program Payments and Rural Development Funding in Low Population Growth Rural Communities.

The full report is available here or as a PDF here.

The official press release is available here.

Key Findings: In thirteen Midwest and Great Plains states, 260 farm operations benefited from USDA programs to a greater extent than did all the people and communities in 260 examined counties, containing nearly 3 million people in over 1,400 incorporated municipalities, according to a report released today by the Center for Rural Affairs.

The report examined 260 rural counties with the greatest depopulation or lowest population growth in thirteen states. Those counties received $156 million in federal rural development spending or about $53 per capita for nearly 3 million people over the three-year period in question. The top 260 farm program recipients in the states examined received an average of just over $1 million each, a total of $264 million, over a comparable three year period.

Key Significance: The report points to one of the primary choices faced by Congress as it develops the 2007 Farm Bill – whether to continue massive subsidies to a limited number of mega-farms or limit farm program payments in order to invest in the future of rural communities and the millions that live there.


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