Poll: Majority of Americans oppose agriculture subsidies

A poll shows most Americans oppose farm subsidies.
A poll shows most Americans oppose farm subsidies.
As government spending continues to grow at breakneck speeds, a new poll shows that a solid majority of Americans are opposed to subsidies for U.S. agribusinesses as they are currently delivered.

Taxpayers provide about $16 billion a year to farmers for crop subsidies, conservation payments and disaster relief, according to the Environmental Working Group.

Outside of the approximately 30 congressional districts represented by members from the House and Senate agriculture committees - Environmental Working Group found that 43 percent of all farm payments between 1995 and 2006 went to the congressional districts with representation on the House committee - the subsidies are unpopular.

Only 36 percent of Americans favor subsidies to large farms, while 61 percent oppose them, according to WorldPublicOpinion.org.
However, 77 percent of Americans do favor providing subsidies to small farms, although most small farms do not receive subsidies.

"Clearly, U.S. policy on farm subsidies is far out of step with the preferences of the American public," said Steven Kull, director of WorldPublicOpinion.org.

President Obama has proposed capping subsidies for agribusinesses with incomes over $250,000. The proposal is not popular with agricultural interests, which include farming operations, but also farm communities, insurers and farm equipment dealers and manufacturers.