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how much money is going into agricultural supports? peering into big Ag's relief packages

Posted: October 8 2020
Soybeans are harvested from a field on Hodgen Farm in Roachdale, Indiana, U.S., Picture taken November 8, 2019. Photo Credit: REUTERS/Bryan Woolston

Marion Nestle of Food Politics poses the question: how much money is going into agricultural supports?

Beyond huge subsidies already provided by the Farm Bill, Nestle writes:

"The USDA has given producers more than $10 billion in Coronavirus assistance. This includes nearly $1 billion to Iowa farmers. Lesser amounts went to producers in Nebraska, California, Texas, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Overall, about half went to livestock producers."

In combination with the Market Facilitation Program (MFP), created to offset losses done by the Trump administration's trade war with China, some $33 billion in payments have been made to American farms this year, with a biggest share headed to the largest and wealthiest farm businesses.

From the Environmental Working Group's analysis of Department of Agriculture records, "the top ten percent of farms received more than half of all MFP payments, with farms in the top 10 percent getting an average payment of $185,412."

"Mid-sized" and smaller farm businesses which comprise 80% of farms, got 23 percent of the MFP relief payments. The numbers are similar for the Coronavirus assistance.

It's unclear how much, if any, of this relief makes it to small family farms.