Massachusetts Senator-Elect Elizabeth Warren recently came out in support of significantly reducing farm subsidies, a controversial topic, particularly in light of recent severe weather.
For the past few months, farmers across the country have suffered from one of the worst droughts in recent history. While crop production has suffered across the country, farmers appear likely to break farm profit records. In light of a 6.9 percent increase in farm profits in the midst of a severe drought, some lawmakers are calling for severe cutbacks in farm subsidies.
Senator-Elect Warren is the latest legislator to call for reductions in farm spending. In part, these calls reflect Massachusetts’s position in the US agricultural industry. The Bay State currently ranks about 44th in the nation in federal farm payments and only about 7.7 percent of local farmers receive farm subsidies.
The debate goes beyond Massachusetts’s share in federal farm payments. Advocacy organizations like the Environmental Working Group have argued that farm subsidies represent massive corporate welfare programs that siphon money away from taxpayers. The EWG estimates that farm subsidies have cost taxpayers more than $275 billon over the last six years and that more than 75 percent of subsidies go to only 10 percent of farmers (typically large-scale farmers).
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer