Putting welfare for farmers in perspective

farm-subsidiesThe USDA budget for 2012 was $145 billion.  That’s $500 for every man, woman, and child in America. This is a quote from the Environmental Protection Agency’s website:

“There are over 313,000,000 people living in the United  States. Of that population, less than 1% claim farming as an occupation (and  about 2% actually live on farms). In 2007, only 45% of farmers claimed farming  as their principal occupation and a similar number of farmers claiming some  other principal occupation. The number of farms in the U.S. stands at about 2.2 million.”

So, assuming that 1% of the US population claims farming as an occupation, but only 45% claim farming as their principal occupation, means that the US has 700,000 full time farmers.  Dividing the USDA budget by that number means that the average annual taxpayer cost per full time farmer in the US is over $200,000. Dividing the USDA’s budget by 2.2 million farms means that the average farm costs the taxpayer $66,000 per year.  This means that the average farm cost to the taxpayer is 44% higher than the average US household income of $46,000.

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