Proposed Subsidy Changes Could Help Colorado Farmers
Federal legislation introduced last week could help level the playing field for small and mid-sized farmers in Colorado and other states.
The Rural America Preservation Act, sponsored by Senators Tim Johnson (D-South Dakota) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), proposes capping certain commodity payments to prevent large-scale farms from raking in the biggest share of federal subsidies.
“When we subsidize on the basis of the amount of product produced, we disproportionately subsidize those farms that are already making a lot of money,” says Taylor Reid with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.
Reid notes that larger corporate farming operations – those grossing $500,000 or more a year - have the resources and political connections to maximize subsidy payments, putting smaller farmers at a disadvantage. In Colorado, fewer than 5% of the more than 36,000 farms gross more than $500,000 annually.
Those in Congress who favor continuing the subsidies as they are say farms of all sizes are being squeezed by higher prices for fuel and equipment. But Reid says the subsidies should be based on economic need, especially during a time when the federal government is making cuts to other farm programs.