Report: Crop Insurance Manipulating Land Prices
December 10th, 9:35 PM CST by
December 13th, 9:35 PM CST
A new report says crop insurance provided by the farm bill is leading to increased land prices, and pushing new and smaller farmers out.
A series of white papers written by Land Stewardship Project, a progressive agriculture organization, says the subsidies the federal government gives farmers for insurance allows large landowners to plant more and more acres of infertile farmland and have taxpayers effectively pick up the decrease in yield.
Mark Schultz, associate director with Land Stewardship Project says, "You have a base acreage that you've been farming that is your most productive land. Now you can move to land that'll never produce the yields. You plan it. You're not going to get that same yield, but crop insurance will pay for the difference."
The report found one landowner in Minnesota that took in $1.6 million dollars in federal subsidies in 2011 alone.
That alleged corporate welfare, coupled with the negative impacts that affect the market, has some farmers concerned about the long-term consequences.
Tom Nuessmeier, a farmer in the Le Sueur area, "It's not just about size and efficiency. It's about rural communities. In this area, farming is the backbone and strong rural communities need more farms, not less."
The report found that the total number of farms has decreased by 4.3% in the past five years alone. The average size of the remaining farms has increased at nearly an identical rate.
Insurance subsidy program is expect to cost $90 billion over the next decade.