the rich get richer: 50 billionaires got federal farm funding

posted April 21, 2016

Think federal farm subsidies only help out struggling family farmers? Think again.

Fifty members of the Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans  – banking tycoon David Rockefeller Sr., Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, stockbroker Charles Schwab and dozens of other billionaires – got at least $6.3 million in farm subsidies between 1995 and 2014, according to an EWG analysis. And these fat cats likely received even more subsidies through the federal crop insurance program.

EWG matched EWG’s Farm Subsidy Database with the Forbes 400 list.  We found that the billionaires who received farm subsidies between 1995 and 2014 have a collective net worth of $331.4 billion, based on Forbes’ estimates of their wealth.

Some of the other notable members of the 1 percent who got farm subsidies include Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, the owners of three professional sports teams, and the founder of the Bass Pro sporting goods empire.

Of the 50 billionaires, 46 grow corn, soybeans, sorghum, cotton, rice and barley – commodities that are eligible for both traditional farm subsidies and crop insurance subsidies. Only two of the billionaires exclusively raise livestock, which aren’t eligible for subsidies but qualify for disaster assistance.

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global agribusiness mergers not a done deal

posted December 17, 2015

Agribusiness Merger

The $130 billion Dow-DuPont merger announced last week has rekindled ChemChina’s $44.6 billion bid for Syngenta which, in turn, may provoke a fourth takeover try by Monsanto. If ChemChina prevails, Monsanto is likely to look for a deal with either BASF or Bayer. If they get their way, the world’s Big Six agricultural input companies controlling 75% of global agricultural R&D may be reduced to three or four. Even if only the Dow-DuPont deal gets past competition regulators, the new enterprise will control 25% of global commercial seed sales and 16% of world pesticide sales, meaning that, together with Monsanto, just two companies would control 51% of seed sales and one quarter of the pesticide market.

But regulatory acceptance is far from a done deal according to a new 20-page report issued today by ETC Group.[1] (more…)