Are North Dakota Farmers Double Dipping on Federal Subsidies?

Work on the the 2018 farm bill has begun. So has public debate on what the legislation should contain, and long-standing differences are surfacing again. Thinkstock / Special to the Forum

According to a new report from the Environmental Working Group – a somewhat infamous organization in agriculture industry circles thanks to their online database of farm subsidy recipients – there are lot of producers double-dipping on federal subsidies.

North Dakota is one of the states where it’s happening the most.

I had Don Carr, a senior adviser for EWG, on my radio show yesterday.  You can listen to the full audio of our interview below.

You can read their report on this “double dipping” here.

“After a decline in crop prices in 2014 and 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture boosted farmers’ income by more than $13 billion through two newly enacted subsidy programs,” the report states. “But during the same period, another USDA program paid out nearly as much to ‘compensate’ the same farmers for the same decline in prices. In all, this double-dipping cost American taxpayers almost $23.9 billion.”

The programs, which can be accessed in addition to the crop insurance program, are the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) program and the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program. Ag producers can only choose one of these programs to participate in, but they can choose either of them while simultaneously participating in crop insurance.

The safety net the government provides for American agriculture is one thing, but doesn’t it make sense to pay farmers multiple times for the same losses?

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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