farm subsidy

USDA now obscures the names of some farm subsidy recipients

After decades of releasing the names of everyone who receives farm subsidy payments, the USDA has changed course, hiding the names of a portion of farm subsidy recipients. An advocacy group that publishes the data says that the decision to withhold recipient names obscures how billions of dollars of taxpayer money is spent.

Warning signs, although farm sector finances are relatively strong

After a review of farm-sector financial indicators, economist Brent Gloy says, "Caution going forward would be appropriate," particularly for operators who are borrowing money. The commonly used debt-to-asset ratio is low, Gloy writes at the Agricultural Economic Insights blog a day before USDA updates its farm-income forecast, but lesser-known yardsticks, such as the debt-service ratio and times-interest-earned ratio "indicate that financial conditions are as poor as any seen for some time."

LDPs are back for wheat and may be coming in corn

It's been a decade since low commodity prices made loan-deficiency payments a routine, if arcane, part of U.S. agriculture. But prices are low enough that wheat growers are collecting LDPs and the payments "might even be on the cusp of returning for corn in some parts of the country," says DTN. When farmers request an LDP, the USDA pays them the difference between the support price for a crop and the market price, when prices are below the so-called loan rate.