Taxpayer Groups Concerned about Farm Bill Subsidies

Multiple free market and taxpayer advocacy organizations held a press conference about the upcoming farm bill. They’re concerned about proposals to increase farm subsidies in any new legislation. Josh Sewell, director of research and policy with Taxpayers for Common Sense, says the effort to massively increase reference prices is reckless.

“Unfortunately, the draft Farm Bill, unveiled by House Ag Committee Republicans, is not crafted in economic or fiscal reality. The ag sector has experienced an unprecedented run of success. In addition to record-setting net income in 2022, the sector has experienced above-average income almost continuously since the adoption of the 2018 Farm Bill and is projected to continue to do well in the future. As prices and incomes have stayed high, payments in the counter-cyclical Title One programs have, as the programs are designed to, fallen short of original projections. But instead of celebrating this economic success, ag special interests are lamenting a reduction in taxpayer cash.”

Brian Riley, director of the Free Trade Initiative for the National Taxpayer’s Union, says using high input costs to justify more taxpayer money isn’t legitimate.

“I’m going to comment on one thing, and that’s the idea that these massive subsidy increases are needed to compensate farmers for increased input prices. This is not a credible assertion. Net farm income remains high and positive. According to the Department of Agriculture, farm assets and net farm equity are expected to reach record levels in 2024 without billions of dollars in new subsidies. If input prices are a concern, the farm bill should address that through measures that would moderate those input prices. There’s nothing in the proposed farm bill about rolling back fertilizer tariffs and reducing tariffs on steel, aluminum, and lumber that increase input prices for farmers.”