The landowners and farmers who have traditionally relied on the receipt of a government check to help with their survival, regardless of the profitability of their farms, will soon be facing the shrinking or elimination of those subsidy checks.
The congressional super committee responsible for designing the fall plan for dramatically reducing the federal budget is predicted to take aim at those subsidy payments.
Lobbyists and other supporters of the farmers are struggling to develop a new and less expensive way to subsidize the farms and which would offer farmers payments when there is a collapse in market prices or when the crops are poor.
The possibility that the payments will diminish is such a significant threat that even the cotton industry – which has resisted experiencing cuts – is now seeking potential alternatives. Some of the ideas that are being considered include different ways of removing funding from what is currently given to the annual payments and using it to improve the federal crop insurance program.
Darrel McAlexander, a farmer from Sidney, in southwestern Iowa, “I would gladly give up the direct payments if we made sure we had a good risk-management program with federal crop insurance.”
The National Corn Growers Association’s former president, Darrin Ihnen, said that the organization is aware that there will be a change in the way the money is spent, and that the direct payments are threatened. Since 1996, there have been $4.7 billion made in annual payments, making up the heart of the federal farm programs.