Despite new rules (and loads of hullabaloo) aimed at cutting federal farm subsidies to the nation’s largest farmers and landowners, little has changed in who gets subsidies, according to the Des Moines Register’s Philip Brasher. In 2007, 20 percent of those Iowans receiving subsides received 64 percent of the farm payments. In 2009, after the new rules were in place, the top 20 percent received 63% of the farm subsidies.
Brasher says that fixed payments are the most likely place for Congress to change the farm subsidy program. Iowa farmers received $511 million in annual fixed payments in 2009 — payments landowners receive even when farmers are producing bumper crops and receiving high prices.
“We’re having a hard time defending that, to tell you the truth,” Craig Lang, president of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, told Brasher. “In order to balance the deficit, we have to do our share.”