By now, we’ve all seen the videos of the farm bill.
That’s right, the farm bills’ biggest political prize, and a $1.1 trillion, 2.5 trillion-dollar farm bill, is one that mostly favors the very wealthy.
The idea that farm subsidies are a necessary part of a strong American economy is not supported by the data, according to a new analysis from economists at the University of Illinois.
In fact, they say the data shows the opposite.
The study, published this week in the journal Nature Communications, found that farmers and their families who earn less than $50,000 per year receive far more subsidies than those who earn more than $100,000, and that these subsidies largely go to the top 1 percent of the American population.
“There’s no question that the overwhelming majority of farmers who are earning $50 to $100k receive at least some farm subsidies,” the authors write.
“But these subsidies, while providing a lot of support to the lower-income family members, also contribute to a lot more income inequality than the farm subsidy data would indicate.”
The authors looked at how much subsidies farmers received from federal farm programs and compared those amounts to the incomes of farm owners and the typical family.
They then calculated how much the average farmer received for each subsidy dollar.
They found that farm assistance for the typical household of four in the United States was $2,500 per year.
That amounts to an average subsidy of $1,068 for a family of four.
However, the authors note that it is misleading to compare the average farm subsidy with the average incomes of farmers.
They argue that while farmers who earn $50k and more receive a significant share of the $1 trillion in farm subsidies, those same farmers receive much less than the average household income of $40,000.
The authors argue that because the average income of farm workers is much lower than the incomes earned by the average family, this disparity makes it more likely that farm subsidy programs actually disproportionately benefit farmers who have higher incomes.
They also found that those who receive more farm subsidies do so in ways that have little to do with the actual cost of producing food or the cost of doing business.
In other words, the vast majority of the people who get the farm subsidies actually get them for reasons that don’t affect the cost to produce food or food production in general.
The farm bill’s $1 billion farm assistance program is a “basket of goodies,” the economists write.
But for many families, it doesn’t include enough money for essential goods like milk, eggs, and clothing.
The researchers found that, even when the farm assistance recipients were included in their average household, there was a “significant and persistent disparity between farm assistance received by the highest and lowest income quintiles.”
And while the farm-aid programs for the middle and lower quintiles are very generous, the researchers found those programs have “significant negative effects on overall family income.”
So the farmers who receive the most farm subsidies in the farm legislation are actually disproportionately benefiting from the program.
That means that if the average American family earns $50K and is paying $400 a month in farm assistance, the average subsidy for a farmer who receives that much farm assistance is $1 million.
That is more than three times as much as the average recipient of farm assistance in the middle quintile.
This means that the program has very little to no impact on the average cost of a family’s food, including dairy, beef, poultry, and eggs.
The findings highlight the problem with the idea that food stamps are necessary to help the poor and vulnerable in this country, said the authors.
“Food stamps provide benefits to those who are poor and low-income but do little to improve the quality of their lives,” they write.
The research was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.