Are Agricultural Subsidies Necessary?


The current federal government of the United States of America spends $20 billion on agricultural subsidies. Citizens have questioned this spending because of the nation’s national debt and deficit. The federal government first started the agricultural subsidies program in the 1930’s during the Great Depression. The intended purpose was to give small and local farmers monetary support so they could still produce their goods during times of hardship. But recently, agricultural subsidies have been giving money to more than just local and small farms. Most of our agricultural subsidies go to large farming corporations.

The federal government gives massive sums of taxpayer money to large soybean and corn producers. For example, a mega-farm named Monsanto receives agricultural subsidies. Last year Monsanto made a total of $4.53 billion in profit. It is unnecessary and destructive for the government to be throwing money at such a large business that can receive so much profit even without government subsidies. That is not the only downside to government subsidies. Because of how much money these big farming companies get, they are capable of greatly influencing congress. These companies use their income to lobby for more agricultural subsidies.

This does not necessarily mean we cut agricultural subsidies completely. However, the situation does make it evident that we should end agricultural subsidies for these huge mega-farms. They waste our tax dollars and could earn a steady profit without government subsidies. These large farms have lobbied to take agricultural subsidies from the hands of small farmers. The result is agricultural subsidies forcing local and small farms out of business–the exact opposite of what was intended.

End agricultural subsidies for large billion-dollar corporations. It is time we put farming subsidies in the hands of small and local farmers instead. We need to let the state governments represent their own people. Take farming subsidies off of the national level and transfer them to the state level. States and local communities can better determine what their farmers require than the overreaching national government. For example, states like Iowa, Kansas, and California would have much more need for agricultural subsidies than states like Alaska or Vermont. Giving subsidies to small farmers rather than billion-dollar companies would lead to an America that has a balanced budget, and an America that is more healthy and better employed.

However, we must remain cautious. Slush funding small farmers may only make matters worse. If you give them an excess of money, they don’t have to produce as much. It’s the same argument for things such as welfare, “If people are receiving an excess of money from the government then they have no incentive to work.” When the event occurs that we do start giving subsidies to local farms instead of large corporations, it will be a tricky balancing act to give these small farmers enough money so they can work, but not too much so that they won’t work.

(Editor’s note: We would like to welcome Caleb Russell to the L&L team. He will likely continue to write about fiscal policy and tie it in with current events. We appreciate his willingness to defend our country’s founding principles through the work we do here.)

Author: Caleb Russell

Questions? Ask away at (Caleb will have his own question email soon!)

Works Cited:

Gensler, Lauren. “Monsanto Profit Falls 25% As Farmers Continue To Cut Back On Spending.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 6 Apr. 2016. Web. 06 Oct. 2016.

Imhoff, Daniel. “Overhauling the Farm Bill: The Real Beneficiaries of Subsidies.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 21 Mar. 2016. Web. 06 Oct. 2016.

APPDMZtamorg. “Products.” Corn Seeds. Monsanto, 2015. Web. 06 Oct. 2016.

Smith, Vincent H. “Should Washington End Agriculture Subsidies?” WSJ., 12 July 2015. Web. 06 Oct. 2016.

Griswold, Daniel. “Should the United States Cut Its Farm Subsidies?” Cato Institute., 27 Apr. 2007. Web. 06 Oct. 2016.

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