Saturday, March 31, 2007

Farm Subsidies Breakdown

The Environmental Working Group publishes the Farm Subsidy Database which tracks a ton of information on farm subsidies, especially American ones. Here is an interesting break down of spending between 1995-2005 by subsidy program. Unsurprisingly, corn is the most subsidized crop in the US. The breakdown of corn subsidies by year (here) shows that corn subsidies are actually rather volatile, and they have recently increased significantly. In 2002 corn subsidies totaled almost 2 billion dollars, but by 2005 they totaled almost 10 billion. Large corn subsidies are one of the main reasons why ethanol is so popular in the US. I would be very interested in seeing the size of the subsidies by crop relative to the amount of crop grown, to get a sense of the relative subsidization.

12 comments:

Chris said...

I liked this comment I found on the site from Ken Cook, the group's president:

Energy independence is about more than trading foreign oil for domestic ethanol. America is already a net importer of nitrogen fertilizer. Heavier use of nitrogen fertilizer on corn will mean heavier reliance on foreign suppliers.

The work against subisidies that the Environmental Working Group does is great, but it would be nice if they were concerned about the consumer's right to decide which businesses to support as well as the environment. Well, let us embrace allies where we find them.

Chris said...

Link for the quote:

http://ewg.org/farm/statement_20070330.php

loogel said...

I will note that there is one positive externality from farming. Having readily available farmland increases national security by reducing the risk of mass starvation by blockade during wartime.

Chris said...

Yes, but the subsidies may also inflate ill feelings against us abroad and encourage a more nationalistic atmosphere generally in which war is more likely.

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