What Every Taxpayer Needs to Know About the “Farm Bill”

“We will end the practice of packaging unpopular bills with ‘must-pass’ legislation to circumvent the will of the American people. Instead, we will advance major legislation one issue at a time,”

GOP Pledge to America

Both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees passed legislation to reauthorize federal farm and food stamp programs—these bills will soon be considered by the full House and Senate.  These so-called “farm” bills were considered in the 112th Congress but were blocked by widespread conservative opposition.  Proponents are once again seeking to pass the legislation though Congress.

  • Cost:  The House bill costs $940 billion over ten years.  By comparison, the last farm bill, enacted in 2008 with the initial cost of $604 billion.  That equals a 56% increase in farm and food aid since the last reauthorization.  Proponents argue that the bill will save $33 billion, but not in any real world sense.  The bill includes policies that over ten years will cost 56% more than the last farm bill.  It is only because the Congressional Budget Office must ignore the expiration date of these programs and assume their continuation into eternity that the bill can be judged to “save” billions.  Similarly, the Senate bill costs $955 billion over ten years, an increase of 58% from the last farm bill.
  • Food Stamp Nation:  Roughly 80% of the bills are comprised of food stamps.  This is because there are now nearly 48 million individuals on food stamps, compared with 30 million in 2008 and 17 million in 2000.  One in seven Americans is now collecting food stamps.  Yet, the reduction to the food stamp program made by these bills are miniscule (2.7% in the House and 0.5% in the Senate), not the sort of reforms needed to roll back the program.  This is one reason why most conservatives are so intent on splitting up the bill between its food stamp and farm subsidy components—a reform ignored by both Agriculture Committees.
  • Unaffordable Subsidies:  The remaining 20% of the bill contains lavish price supports and revenue guarantees for farmers.  For instance, while both bills eliminate wasteful direct payments to farmers, they redirect much of those “savings” back into a new “revenue protection” entitlement program that will effectively guarantee the profits for farmers that currently benefit from direct payments, and likely an even larger number of farmers (thus expanding the dependency and the number of beneficiaries of future farm bills).  This additional safety net is on top of currently subsidized crop insurance available to farms and set at current crop prices, which are at or near all-time highs.
  • Violation of the GOP Pledge to America:  Packaging the food stamp spending and commodity subsidies together is the definition of legislative “logrolling” that has been used for generations to shield these programs from bold reforms by securing as large a coalition of supporters as possible.  The American people voted that type of legislating out of office in 2010 when House Republicans adopted the Pledge to America, which precluded the packaging of unpopular legislation together.
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Packaging the food stamp spending and commodity subsidies together = legislative “logrolling”

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Please Share Your Thoughts

46 thoughts on “What Every Taxpayer Needs to Know About the “Farm Bill”

    • I agree with you completely. BUT, I disagree with the tone implied in the article that all farm subsidies are bad and that ALL farmers are leeching off the government price supports. The problems arise when the farm bills include all of the mega-ag & livestock corporations who, as big business personified, drive the terms and shouldn’t NEED the subsidies. Most of the egregious parts of the farm subsidies would be eliminated if there were limitations specified on the size/acreage of the farms qualifying for assistance.

  1. What is the bill number for this legislation? It is helpful to have the bill number when contacting my members of congress.

    • Devin, does this help?

      S. 954 – Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013 (Committee Passed; Version introduced in the full Senate)

      • Yes, thanks. I wonder why so many articles talking about legislation do not include this information? Especially when they are advocating that the reader should contact their legislators. It is not that it takes a lot of space in the article.

  2. We are becoming a nation underwater in debt. Congress must stop this nonsense…legislator must READ the bills before they pass them. What happened to Obama’s promise to pick apart legislation, one line at a time? He is doing the opposite of what he said he was going to do, per the liberal bait and switch tactics we know so well. The public must wake up!

  3. This is a sneaky way to get a bill through,and lie which the Democrats way of doing business.Just one big lie.They will soon put the US into default,and China will own us.

      • Both parties suck and are full of scum – leave the left right paradigm alone and lets focus on fixing these issues – first off FIRE CONGRESS!

  4. does not matter what the american people think….washington and the liars and theives will do what they want..only a revolution at the polling booth will change anything

    • Hate to say it,but you are right. The only hope I see is to get rid of Big O and all his crew. Seems like they will not be happy until there is a Civil War.

    • i agree with u 100%, these jerk are not paying any attention to the american people who pay their dam wages.

  5. What does my senator Rich Burr think? The other senator from NC is basically a communist. I have left the RINO party because of moderates like Rich Burr. Is this huge increase in food stamps in preparation for Rubio’s illegal invaders? The gangster amnesty bill will completely destroy our Constitutional Republic.

    • Everyone who is NOT a member should join numbersusa and after joining send FREE faxes to their congresspersons, BUT they hate the phone calls MORE, and make their satellite offices in your state, check online for their phone numbers and CALL every one of them, or we are tacocitas for sure!

    • They do. Most states are requiring documentation from places you submit applications to, and are asking for at least 4 submissions per week. It doesn’t help when nobody in your area is hiring.

  6. Let us know when you have a up or down vote on this farm bill to send our reps., already wrote to my congressman. Thanks

      • Some of these folks are selling drugs and collecting from government programs. They are also benefiting from the good will of church donations and are living pretty well. They drive nice cars and have nice big tvs and nice cell phones. Yes, they are dressed well and have plenty of time to hang around having fun—


    • They do, but with furloughs, and rubber stamping most people provided they send in their biannual proof of income, it becomes harder to detect fraud. If you see it, please report it. It helps allocate funds to those who actually need it.

      • And what if you’re on foodstamps because you qualify for disability, but the company refuses to cooperate? Or you’re old ad require an extensive list of meds, any one of which could cause havoc with drug tests?
        I think if you get reported for FRAUDULENT use of the program, sure, but to get in and have to pass a test is a bit much and adding insult to injury. They already have to get onto foodstamps, because they don’t have enough to provide for their families. Isn’t that shameful enough?

  8. We believe in feeding the poor but I see no one living working like people in the 30ies. There are jobs every where but most require work and the desire to work.
    The system is broke and so are we working people…..

    • For jobs like the 30’s, that would require government to create more jobs to rebuild infrastructure. Are you willing to pay for that?

      They could do that for installing fiber optic cables cross-country (see: Why Koreans/Chinese people have so much interwebs), but internet/phone companies would be required to recompense the government what was given to them to do just that over 10 years ago.

      They could also make a volunteer force of people to do volunteer work like the Peace corps, and get recompensed like the National Guard or Army, and have these folks report after natural disasters to help rebuild communities.

      • The Peace Corp is awful and volunteers don’t get paid. That is what volunteer work is. Most of us cannot afford to work for free.

        • I understand that. It’s why they would change the program, and get recompensed similar to the National Guard. And yes, it’s awful, but if you volunteered there for four years, and could get rid of your college loans, wouldn’t that be nice? And you would be helping people too.

    • Many of the available jobs you may see are low paying. Even young people starting out cannot live on the pay being offered. There are many college graduates with debts to pay and families started. We need good paying jobs and companies who see workers as an asset.

  9. What is wrong with these morons. And I mean from both sides. People need to start taking responsibility for themselves and our elected officials should be removed from office for all of the free bees they give away. How easy it is to spend money earned by someone else. They should be forced to use a certain percent of their own money on every bill that gives away OUR HARD EARNED MONEY.

  10. No and Heck no!!!! I grew up watching my father receive taxpayer-funded subsidies to produce lung killing tobacco and to otherwise fund what was often a failing economic venture. Even as a child I thought this was foolish and wrong and as an adult, even more so! It is time to stop the ‘love’ for some while penalizing our children’s futures! Shame on them!!

  11. They are also one of the BIGGEST employers of the illegal aliens, get subsidies, cheap labor (for them that is), and some make TONS of money, don’t kid me, I live in the country and am surrounded by some mega pig farmers!

  12. I agree separate the food stamps from the subsidies. Food stamps are a scam and need to be redesigned to better serve those who actually need it. Farm subsidies are a different story. If we don’t subsidize farmers, they won’t farm. no farm, no food. simple as that. funny thing is, we bitch about the subsidies AND we’ll bitch about the lack of affordable food 5 years from now. The one thing Obama has truly done is make it so we’re NEVER happy. We demand things we’re not willing to pay for, then complain loudly when our demands aren’t met. I love this country. things simply have to change.

  13. I collect food stamps now and I am thankful for them, but then I had a DUI in 2008 tand I wrecked my truck even though I was only doing 15 MPH at the time it happened in a parking lot, I wasn’t drunk or anything but seeing a couple of patrol cars sitting doing nothing distracted me and I swerved a little into the other lane so I lost my living in the process of losing my license, my truck plus had probation and fines so I went on the food stamp program. I figure that if the taxpayer wants all these laws that ruin a man’s life then the taxpayer who supports the legal system can pay for my living expenses and I still believe that but it is a hard way to go to depend on the government and I started to go back to school after thirty seven years out of school and I could not do well there either I am 57 years old and I am having medical problems, I set tile and did other kinds of construction work for thirty years and before that I worked at GM but I injured myself there and instead of suing for workmans compensation I moved to Florida and work my back , that was my injury ; I worked it out and was in good physical condition until I lost my license and job at 54 years old my physical condition went fast downward, so i could no longer set tile nor could I find a job anywhere else since a license was required to get a job so I filed for disability, but it barley covers bills so a welfare state is a state of poverty and if I had a decent job making a decent wage I would take it in a second as long as it didn’t have to do with construction, I would be happy to be a janitor cleaning toilets than be living like I live now, a poor man. If the capitalists would be more decent and less greedy, if the doctor or lawyer didn’t have to live in a million dollar house then life would be better for all of us. If big corporations would pay taxes like GE. or Warren Buffet and all the big corporations who think they have to make their stockholders rich then we would have less problems,. Farm subsidies have been going on for seventy years or so, they used to pay farmer not to grow wheat in the 70’s and 80’s they used to give subsidies to tobacco farmers, remember the old movie Tobacco Road, the same thing. If the fed would allow people to grow Hemp and Cannibis sativa then we could get out of debt on just those two crops.

    • You said you received a DUI back in 2008 but you were not drunk or anything. Excuse me, but doesn’t DUI stand for driving under the influence? I believe you are in denial Wayne. When you talk about laws that ruin a man’s life are you referring to laws that say it is illegal to drive when you’re under the influence of booze or drugs? And why should the tax payers pay for your mistake? Why should the law apply to others but not to you?

      You may have had a good job once but you only have yourself to blame for losing it. Stop with the I’m a victim bull shit!!

  14. When my wife and I got married while I was in the service we lacked $75.00 a month being able to pay our bills. We worked out of it and my folks were share croppers during the depression making less than $1.00 a day when work was available. Don’t tell me how low minimum wages are if you are hungry. And how much of borrowed college loans are necessary or wasted so their living standards are good.

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