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.
‘Time to consider improvements’ in milk marketing system, say farm groups
The first update to the federal milk marketing system in nearly a quarter-century "should improve price discovery, improve the clarity of the program, continue to support timely payments to producers and reduce price incentives to de-pool milk," said a dozen U.S. farm groups on Monday. The groups said they believed the USDA would call a hearing in 2023 to address price formulas used in the marketing system.
Farm payments doubled during subsidy flood, says EWG
The government paid a record $41.6 billion in a variety of subsidies to farmers in 2020, double the amount they received in 2018, when the Trump-era cash gusher began flowing, said the Environmental Working Group on Wednesday.
Biden administration to oversee new coronavirus payments to farmers
Considering the time needed to convert legislation into action, the Biden administration will oversee the payment of most or all of the $13 billion in agricultural aid that was included in the latest coronavirus package, said Agriculture Undersecretary Bill Northey on Tuesday. Still, there was a chance that some funds could flow before the end of January, or even before the change in the administration on Jan. 20, Northey said during a news conference.
Record-high ag subsidies to supply 39 percent of farm income
Despite the effects of the pandemic and the trade war, U.S. farm income this year will be the highest since 2013 because of the largest federal payments ever — $46.5 billion, triple the usual amount, the government said on Wednesday. Think tank analysts said farm income would fall in 2021 with the expiration of Trump-era bailouts, but the drop-off will be lessened by the ongoing rally in commodity prices and increased ag exports.
USDA exempts family farms from limit on farm subsidy recipients
In a reversal, the USDA said on Wednesday that family-run farms are not subject to a rule that tightens eligibility standards for crop subsidies — the opposite of what it announced three months ago. A small-farm advocate criticized the "correction," which applies to the bulk of U.S. farms, as a violation of the rule-making process and encouraged the incoming Biden administration to void it.
Farm income cushion for 2021: Higher commodity prices
Crop and livestock prices have rebounded from coronavirus lows last spring and could bolster farm income as massive federal payments recede in 2021, said economists at a farm conference on Monday. Cortney Cowley of the Kansas City Federal Reserve cautioned “the path of this recovery is …
How high could farm subsidies go? $40 billion this year.
If farm subsidies were a crop, this year’s payments would fit the hoary rural adage, “big crops get bigger.” USDA supports, already forecast to set a record, could exceed $40 billion this year, thanks to the second round of coronavirus relief now available to farmers and …
Senate passes funding bill, House slows pace on coronavirus
On an 84-10 roll call vote, senators passed a short-term funding bill to keep the government open until Dec. 11, well after the November general election. Meanwhile, House Democrats delayed a vote on a $2.2 trillion coronavirus package that would increase SNAP benefits by 15 percent for one year and offer billions of dollars of additional assistance to farmers and ranchers.
Federal funding barrier: Billions more for farmers
President Trump wants a pre-election slush fund of up to $30 billion at USDA that he can spend with no strings attached, said the senior Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee on Monday as agricultural aid blossomed into a potential roadblock for a government funding bill. Republicans …
‘Trump bump’ in farm income to disappear in 2021
U.S. farm income, buoyed by record-setting farm subsidies this year, will sink in the new year with the disappearance of government payments to buffer the effects of the trade war and the coronavirus pandemic on agriculture, said the FAPRI think tank on Thursday. Farm groups and their allies in Congress are likely to seek billions of dollars in new federal assistance, said analysts.
Highest farm income in seven years, thanks to record-setting federal aid
The Trump administration is showering U.S. agriculture with the largest farm supports ever, an estimated $37 billion, chiefly through stopgap programs to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, said the Agriculture Department on Wednesday. As a result, farm income in 2020 would be the highest in seven years.
Coronavirus darkens income prospects for grain farmers
Seven weeks ago, the USDA forecast the highest U.S. net farm income since 2013. Since then, the coronavirus pandemic has driven down grain prices and “reduced (the) grain farm income outlook for 2020,” wrote five university economists on Tuesday. “Given current expected …
Farm Bureau backs ‘one farmer, one vote’ for dairy marketing rules
A task force created by the largest U.S. farm group called on Wednesday for more democracy in the federal milk-marketing orders that guide dairy sales throughout the United States and for greater equity between producers and processors in a system that dates from the Depression.
First round of Trump tariff payments could top $4 billion
Farmers and ranchers would receive more than $4 billion in the upcoming first round of Trump tariff payments for this year, based on Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s description on Tuesday. Perdue discussed compensation to farmers for trade-war losses moments after a speech in which he …
Trade war expands government role in agriculture, despite decades of free-market reforms
The multibillion-dollar Trump tariff payments to farmers, born of the China-U.S. trade war, are expanding the government role in agriculture despite decades of free-market reforms that told farmers to pursue profits rather than subsidies. “I don’t like to see that precedent but …
Trump injects food stamp limits into signing of ‘really tremendous’ farm bill
At the same time President Trump signed into law the 2018 farm bill, which modestly strengthens the farm safety net, loosens farm subsidy rules, and legalizes industrial hemp, he announced “immediate action on welfare reform” on Thursday through stricter enforcement of time limits on food stamps to able-bodied adults.
Farm bill 2018: Late, yes, but not as late as some
The 2018 farm bill, which President Trump could sign into law as early as next week, is more than two months overdue, largely because of a fight over SNAP work requirements that led Rep. Collin Peterson to say, “I don’t know if we’re ever going to get another one done.” The past decade has provided ample reason for doubt.