PCRM Pushes Congress to End Direct Agricultural Payments
The federal government pays millions of dollars in agricultural subsidies each year to people who do no farming at all. By law, these direct payments go to landowners who live on land that was once used to grow corn or soybeans, most of which were used for livestock feed.
The payment program was set up as part of the 1996 Freedom to Farm Act. In addition to paying landowners who do not farm, the direct payment program makes it profitable to keep land dedicated to feed grains for livestock, and program restrictions block the production of vegetables and fruits.
PCRM joined other concerned organizations this October to encourage Congress to support a bill that would stop these payments. The REAPS Act, introduced by Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., calls for a permanent end to direct payments.
“Direct payments total approximately $5 billion per year,” wrote PCRM director of public and government affairs Elizabeth Kucinich, along with leaders of Defenders of Wildlife and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, in a letter to Congress. “We support eliminating this program that subsidizes farms already making record profits, distorts food production away from crops that would provide better nutritional value to Americans by lowering prices of those foods relative to fruits and vegetables, and encourages production methods that have negative environmental and health impacts.”
The letter to Congress explains that the REAPS Act would help align America’s agricultural policies with the government’s nutrition guidance, which recommends that Americans increase fruit and vegetable intake.