[Market-farming] Making money from farming - Online Subsidy Database

Rick Williams mrfarm at frontiernet.net
Tue Jan 28 21:18:19 EST 2003

Dave Lilligren wrote:
> If you want to see how much the "big guys" are getting from the
> government,
> check out the following website:
> http://www.ewg.org/farm/
> Oh, and the little guys show up there as well!  :o)

I love to see this kind of stuff published and it was a real treat to see
the amounts some of the large players actually get. In the past it was very
difficult to get this info because the FSA office did not feel very
comfortable with that and they would only tell you for that county. Some of
the farmers getting the high numbers are actually higher because they have
other counties they may work in, and have interlocking relationships.

My biggest criticism of these programs continues to be that the larger farms
with greater efficiency, have economies of scale that the small farms can't
touch. That means that a dollar of government subsidy to the large farmers
has more impact than on the small ones. The small farmers are not easy to
convince though because when I would discuss it with them when I was on the
Farm Bureau board, they felt that at least they got SOMETHING. Which was
better than nothing.

But they don't seem to grasp the long range thinking, that even increasing
production a tiny amount, greatly impacts the commodity prices.

Judy was at an FSA meeting yesterday to find out all the "new" programs
under the current farm bill. We likely will be able to just stay in the
program to at least keep our "corn base." We absolutely refuse to retain our
tobacco base allotment.

My hope is that the new direction toward "Green Box" grants (under the WTO
rules) will keep the government steering in the direction of conservation
practices. We hope to qualify for Level 2, but at this time, they still have
not figured out what the requirements will be for the three conservation

If you try and find us on the EWG site, we are close to the last group out
of the 2000+ farms getting subsidies in Vernon County. It is a shocker
though we you see the really large croppers such as the Vesbach's, almost
pulling in $1 million dollars over the six year period between several

I admit that the total subsidy to our county, which is close to the poorest
in the region, would be devastating to lose. The new M.I.L.C. contract for
dairy farmers which favors the small farms over the large ones will be
interesting to follow since a lot of them will likely qualify for near the
maximum of I think $24,000 per year subsidy if milk prices continue to be so


Rick W.

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