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*Take Action* 50 Billionaires Received $11.3 Million in Farm Welfare

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- 1654 days ago -
Gee, where could we come up with some of the money need to replace that food stamp funding that was lost this week? Maybe from these people who are all collecting farm subsidies

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Robert S (111)
Friday November 8, 2013, 10:46 am
Already signed, but thanks for posting Kit.

Kit B (276)
Friday November 8, 2013, 10:50 am

Sign the petition: Absolutely no cuts to food stamps. None.

Article: 50 billionaires received $11.3 million in farm welfare, could get more in new farm bill

Gee, where could we come up with some of the money need to replace that food stamp funding that was lost this week? Maybe from these people who are all collecting farm subsidies?

**Paul Allen (Net worth: $15.8 billion)
Co-founder of Microsoft

** Charles Ergen (Net worth: $12.5 billion)
Co-founder of DISH Network

** Philip Anschutz (Net worth: $10 billion)
Owner of Anschutz Entertainment Group and co-founder of Major League Soccer

** Leonard Lauder (Net worth: $7.6 billion)
Son of Estee Lauder and former CEO of the Estee Lauder Companies Inc.

** Richard DeVos (Net worth: $6.8 billion)
Co-founder of Amway and Republican candidate for governor of Michigan in 2006

** Jim Kennedy (Net worth: $6.7 billion)
Chairman of Cox Enterprises

** S. Truett Cathy (Net worth: $6 billion)
Founder of Chick-fil-A [...]

And many, many more.

That's a list composed by the Environmental Working Group, using their database of farm subsidy recipients compared to Forbes 400 list of the country's richest people. Between 1995 and 2012, these 50 people—who have have a collective net worth of $316 billion—received $11.3 million in farm subsidy payments. They've probably have even received more in crop insurance payments, but we don't know because the law doesn't allow prohibits the disclosure of the identities of crop insurance policyholders.

While a congressional conference committee meets to decide if they're going to cut $40 billion (House bill) or $10 billion (Senate bill) from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, they are probably going to give billionaires even more!

[P]roposed changes adopted in both the House and Senate versions of the bill will likely allow these billionaires to bank millions more in premium subsidies. Both bills would shift subsidies from programs currently subject to means testing to the more generous crop insurance program. Unlike traditional farm subsidies, crop insurance premium subsidies are not currently subject to means testing, payment limits or conservation requirements.

In 2008, Congress created a means test that was designed to deny some subsidies to individuals with annual off-farm income of more than $500,000. The year before, Bloomberg News published a report highlighting some of the billionaires who had been receiving subsidies. But, lawmakers specifically declined to apply it to crop insurance, which has become the primary government support for farm business income.

The system is already skewed for, of course, the largest one percent of farm businesses. They received about $227,000 a year in crop insurance premium support in 2011, according to EWG's analysis from USDA data. Meanwhile, the bottom 80 percent of farmers received only about $5,000 apiece.

There is no reason on earth taxpayers should be subsidizing what are already nothing more than tax write-offs for the nation's wealthiest people. And we particularly should not be subsidizing them when millions are in danger of going hungry because the austerity fetishists in Congress think they're getting too much food.

By: Joan McCarter | Daily Kos |

Please sign and share Petition! Thank you.


Past Member (0)
Friday November 8, 2013, 10:53 am
Just more of the same ol' same ol'. The richer you are, the more ways you can steal from the poor. I read a piece the other day about some place in Arizona or New Mexico where people were getting reduced property tax rates for their big houses by grazing their horses in their giant front yards and claiming the places were farms.

Elizabeth Reynolds (60)
Friday November 8, 2013, 10:58 am
Great share Kit - I am a proponent of helping farmers who actually grow food that US citizens eat - but I have always been conflicted because of these stupid @#*&%!$ who have ABSOLUTELY NO BUSINESS COLLECTING FARM SUBSIDIES! Sigh.

Past Member (0)
Friday November 8, 2013, 11:22 am
Thanks, Kit. I think the whole farm subsidies program was begun to offer some protection to what were then family farmers. You know, so they didn't "lose the farm" in bad years when crops were ruined by droughts or floods, or when for whatever reasons crop prices took a plunge and the farmers had trouble covering their costs, much less making a profit. Of course, now it's been perverted to become another gift to the giant agri-industry corporations, all the folks who want to plant any GMO crop Monsanto can cook up in their labs and spray all those deadly pesticides everywhere. Meanwhile, they've cut the funding for the organic farming programs, which were supposed to help conventional growers switch to a more sustainable and eco-friendly way of growing crops---as well as encourage young people to return to the family farm business. What can we expect-when these same corporations fund our election process in order to benefit their profits? We have to overturn Citizens United, and start electing people who care about what's best for the American people--not just the corporation's bottom line.

JL A (281)
Friday November 8, 2013, 11:27 am
S&N==thanks for posting Kit

Solitary Eagle (324)
Friday November 8, 2013, 11:28 am
Previously signed, shared again. Thank you, Kit.

Arielle S (313)
Friday November 8, 2013, 11:41 am
How ridiculous can we get? Subsidizing mega-farmers instead of small giving a mansion to Donald Trump and nothing to the homeless man....signed

Carrie B (306)
Friday November 8, 2013, 11:53 am
Signed and noted. I am so sick of this stuff and frustrated because stopping it is nearly impossible! Thanks Kit.

Craig Pittman (52)
Friday November 8, 2013, 1:17 pm
The poor can't afford lobbyists. Sadly and so it goes. Thanks Kit.

Rose Becke (141)
Friday November 8, 2013, 3:14 pm
Thanks for signing!

Lois Jordan (63)
Friday November 8, 2013, 3:40 pm
"You've signed. Thanks." Noted. Thank you, Kit.
I sign all petitions and send letters to my members of Congress to protect SNAP. These greedy, mean, grotesquely wealthy individuals have so much money they wouldn't even notice their taxes going up to help those in need. Yet, mainstream media is there to help protect them & their treasure by starving the hungry. Talk about some really bad karma!

Past Member (0)
Friday November 8, 2013, 3:46 pm
Signed-thx Kit

Barbara K (60)
Friday November 8, 2013, 4:57 pm
S & N, thanks, my friend. Billionaires shouldn't be receiving subsidies of any kind. It's no wonder they are Billionaires, and we have hungry people.

Animae C (516)
Friday November 8, 2013, 5:14 pm
You've signed - thanks!

Pat B (356)
Friday November 8, 2013, 5:17 pm
Thanks, Kit for this. I definitely signed.!!!

Vicky P (476)
Friday November 8, 2013, 5:27 pm
noted, signed

Past Member (0)
Friday November 8, 2013, 5:35 pm
Stand up for the real patriots of this country - the poor and working class! Noted and happily signed dear Kit!
How the hell do these SOBs qualify for this?

Mike M (40)
Friday November 8, 2013, 6:06 pm

Sheri Schongold (7)
Friday November 8, 2013, 6:23 pm
The farmers should be the ones getting the compensation, not the fat cats that sit back and pull it in with no effort.

SuSanne P (193)
Friday November 8, 2013, 7:06 pm
Thank you Kit. You have answered the question I was referring to when writing you last week with my many questions among the rants.
Sign the petition: Absolutely no cuts to food stamps. None.
Thanks for signing!

Charlene B (4)
Friday November 8, 2013, 7:32 pm
This is CRAZY.S&N

Patricia N (9)
Friday November 8, 2013, 9:33 pm
Terrible, Terrible. Another way the rich have taken over a program that was originally meant for the common good.

Past Member (0)
Saturday November 9, 2013, 4:05 am

Lindsay K (6)
Saturday November 9, 2013, 4:07 am
This is ludicrous! Shame on them for not handing the welfare back. I hope to goodness that they are paying their fair share of tax.

Ben O (171)
Saturday November 9, 2013, 5:14 am

Gloria p (304)
Saturday November 9, 2013, 6:41 am
Signed and liked.

Joanna W (71)
Saturday November 9, 2013, 6:50 am

. (0)
Saturday November 9, 2013, 7:07 am

Past Member (0)
Saturday November 9, 2013, 8:21 am
Thank you Kit.

Terrie W (798)
Saturday November 9, 2013, 8:43 am
Already signed in private email and shared. Noted. This bullsh** really makes me do a Linda Blair ... on steroids.

Esther Z (94)
Saturday November 9, 2013, 10:56 am
Noted and petition already signed. It's these kind of subsidies that make my blood boil! Taking away from the poor, the elderly, children and the unemployed to give to billionaires many times over, just so they can pay zero taxes or take their money and their jobs over seas, to make even more money! How's this even fair?? In a Repug world, nothing is fair, and all benefits are for the rich or corporations!

Hugo L (255)
Saturday November 9, 2013, 11:37 am
Noted & signed, thanks Kit

Dianna M (16)
Saturday November 9, 2013, 1:01 pm
Oh, no no no no no, people, these are the JOBS CREATORS! (*begins gagging uncontrollably*)

Theodore Shayne (56)
Saturday November 9, 2013, 1:38 pm

Debra Tate (17)
Saturday November 9, 2013, 1:42 pm
S & N!

Birgit W (160)
Saturday November 9, 2013, 2:41 pm

Kathleen R (138)
Saturday November 9, 2013, 3:51 pm
signed & noted

Carlene V (202)
Saturday November 9, 2013, 4:05 pm
Action taken. Some of those listed are mega-billionaires yet they get subsidized by our government, that 's so maddening. Like the oil companies, same thing, tons of subsidies for them too. Vote out each and every Congress person and/or Senator who you find is continuing to allow this. I am a Obama supporter and I wish he would have somehow gotten rid of all lobbyists like he said he would do.

Maggie Kearns (7)
Saturday November 9, 2013, 4:33 pm
N & S Thanks Kit!

Sheila D (194)
Saturday November 9, 2013, 5:12 pm
That's it... no more articles tonight. Can't take more of the wealthy getting what should be going to We, the People. Think reading about Vampires who only suck your blood will be more enjoyable than reading about these people who suck out our very souls.

Kit B (276)
Saturday November 9, 2013, 5:59 pm

Please FLAG the SPAM - thanks.

Robert B (60)
Saturday November 9, 2013, 7:01 pm
The incompetent jackasses in congress COULD have written a bill that would ONLY subsidize SMALL FAMILY farms, instead of handing out money to CROOKED billionaires as if they were giving away free candy. WHY DO VOTERS STAND FOR THIS?? And WHERE is the Media in reporting this?? What a screwed up system!

Lynn Squance (235)
Saturday November 9, 2013, 9:56 pm
I have no problem with subsidies for the small family farmer. But the Ag corps and billionaire "gentlemen" farmers are another thing. For them, subsidies = greater profits. Subsidies to wealthy farmers while the poor starve? That is the most dumb ass decision yet. Must be Republicanus/Teabagger!

So signed.

edward jagusiak (25)
Saturday November 9, 2013, 10:52 pm
Signed&Noted,there are a few in congress that voted for cuts in SNAP but keeps their farm subsidies. Word is spreading ever so slowly,but still moving. Tea baggers beware.

Giana Peranio-paz (398)
Saturday November 9, 2013, 11:48 pm
Noted and signed, thanks Kit.

Karen Chestney (112)
Sunday November 10, 2013, 1:47 am
Thank-you......I had already signed the I forwarded it to facebook and twitter and forwarded the article with list of persons receiving subsidies.......

Athena F (131)
Sunday November 10, 2013, 4:04 am
noted, signed awhile back, thanks kit

Past Member (0)
Sunday November 10, 2013, 5:31 am
You've signed - thanks!
Previously S&S, thank you Kit

Freya H (357)
Sunday November 10, 2013, 8:17 am
Meanwhile, a kid in Texas is deprived of school breakfast because he couldn't cough up 30 cents! And you wonder why there is so much hatred for the rich in this country.

Past Member (0)
Sunday November 10, 2013, 8:27 am
Conservation reserve programs are not a subsidy. There are many different kinds of programs where USDA rents land from farmers, by contract, and pays a minimal stipend for the farmers to change the land back from crop production to natural habitat, planting native grasses, forbes, and other plants; and to maintain the land according to the standards set by USDA, Fish and Wildlife, and Ecology. (This may vary somewhat from program to program, but all reserve programs have maintenance requirements and land is inspected for compliance every other year).

When the 2008 farm bill was under pressure to substantially reduce or eliminate funding for conservation reserve programs, grassland preservation programs, CREP, SAFE programs, etc., etc., many major conservation groups in the country filed protests. This program is at the core of maintaining natural habitat for everything from endangered species to all wildlife and natural flora in agricultural areas. It is not a subsidy. It is means tested.

Rosa Caldwell (384)
Sunday November 10, 2013, 10:05 am
We all need to support this one.

Lisa L (1)
Sunday November 10, 2013, 10:25 am

Kit B (276)
Sunday November 10, 2013, 10:38 am

Good effort John but just not quiet what these subsidies are about. My step father was a farmer and now and again he would apply for relief after flooding or drought finished off his crop. The amount he received, was just about enough to cover the cost of seeds. He also paid for a hefty insurance program to get that money from the Feds. These people are not farmers, and are can be paying for insurance because they have no crops.

Winn A (179)
Sunday November 10, 2013, 11:57 am

Franshisca Dearmas (89)
Sunday November 10, 2013, 5:00 pm
Noted and signed. TY Kit

Kathy Chadwell (354)
Monday November 11, 2013, 2:06 am
18 Investigates: Harvesting a Profit, Part 1
TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - Farm business is big business in this area. Farming has brought more than half a billion dollars of income in the last two decades to just three counties, Tippecanoe, Benton and White.

But is it money well spent?

In a two-part special series called “Harvesting a Profit,” News 18 will investigate the impact of farm subsidies on the area and how a new Farm Bill could change the game for both farmers and taxpayers.

As the wind blows across a farm field in late fall, to a farmer, the noise of the dry stalks waving in the breeze has to sound like a cash register to a farmer. Golden ears of corn are turned into piles of gold, one acre at a time. It's the reward after months of work.

But the harvested crop isn't the only payoff.

The last 18 harvests have brought in more than $604 million in subsidies to Benton, Tippecanoe and White County farmers.

Vanderkleed Farms is #4 on the list, owned by Curt Vanderkleed.

"I'm 55, I've farmed my whole life," Vanderkleed said.

Vanderkleed farms about 2,000 acres of corn and soybeans around West Point. He's collected more than $1.57 million in subsidies since 1995.

Most years, subsides bring in about $45,000 in income. But on five occasions, usually when prices are bad, he's collected more than $100,000 in a single year.

"I prefer not to take anything, but I think that it's a part of the way you do business," Vanderkleed said.

According to USDA data compiled by the advocacy organization Environmental Working Group (EWG), 32 farmers have collected more than $1 million in subsidy payments for their operations in just those three counties since 1995.

The list is topped by Suiter Farms Partnership at $3.1 million. It's a group that also includes a partnership partially owned by District 25 Representative Don Lehe.

But that does not account for farmers who have interests in multiple partnerships.

For example, #28 is W J Brost Farms Incorporated, owned by Bill Brost. It's a recipient of $1.03 million. But Brost is a part of four businesses, Brost Farms Partnership, Oak Ridge LLC and Will Ridge LLC whose nine listed subsidies total nearly $2.2 million, which would put it at #2.

The sixth highest recipient is Purdue University at $1.49 million since '95. With 3,500 acres in Tippecanoe County, it's the site of hundreds of student and faculty projects, as well as crops to feed livestock on the Animal Sciences Farm.

"For us, it's a part of money that is used directly to help support research,” said Director of Purdue Agricultural Centers, Jerry Fankhauser. “The goal for us is to have a crop to meet expenses."

Farmers seem to have no trouble meeting expenses these days. According to the USDA, income for producers nationwide before expenses has risen more than $131 billion in just four years.

"The last five years have been pretty good to farmers. Before that it was mostly a break even proposition," said Vanderkleed.

Expenses have risen as well, $71 billion in four years.

Still, at the same as the median household income in the U-S has fallen about $2,000 since 2009 to $51,017 in 2012, farmers net income after expenses has doubled in just four years, from $60 billion in 2009 to an estimated $120 billion in 2013.

The subsidy checks keep rolling in as well.

"Oh it's nice to have it, but it doesn't mean a lot right now. But if you get back to break even, then it becomes a little more important,” said Vanderkleed.

Vanderkleed isn't as passionate about subsidies as you might think. In part.. because he feels like much of the extra cash is gobbled up by others.

Also, with 2,000 acres of land, he figures his annual expenses at $1.8 million. In other words, it's $200,000 more than all the combined subsidies he's received in the last 18 years.

Vanderkleed breaks down his $900 cost per acre like this: $300 for rent, $250 in capital expenses like machinery and insurance, $350 in variable costs like seed and fertilizer. To make a profit, he has to bring in an average of more than $900 an acre.

"Some years the only money you made was the farm subsidy,” said Vanderkleed. “But if it took it away, costs would adjust themselves down."

But winds of change appear to be blowing on the current subsidy system. Changes that will be explored in part two of “Harvesting a Profit.”

News 18 tried reaching each of the Top Ten Subsidy Recipients on the list. Curt Vanderkleed and Purdue University were the only two who agreed to meet.

According to the USDA data provided by EWG, 207 farmers or entities in Benton, Tippecanoe and White counties have received more than $500,000 in subsidies since 1995. There are 1,201 farmers or entities who have received more than $100,000.

To search for subsidy information from 1995 to 2012 please use the form below.

You can look for farmers individually or take a look at the top recipients in order. You can also take a look at the 2012 subsidies individually. Please note, this database only includes data from Benton, Tippecanoe and White counties. Farmers who farm acres outside these counties may receive additional subsidies that will not show up in this database.

If you just want to look at the combined list of top recipients regardless of county, click the search button without filling in any of the fields.

Judy C (97)
Wednesday November 13, 2013, 4:40 pm
Gladly signed. This is infuriating. Thanks, Kit.

Debbie Crowe (87)
Saturday January 11, 2014, 2:25 pm
Signed & shared.
I am freaked out - what in the world could a co founder of Microsoft, a CEO of Estee Lauder, a founder of Chick Fil - a or any of the others have to do with FARM Subsidy payments??? They should be ashamed of taking from them!
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