Monday, May 16, 2005

Six Kansas farrms get $400,000 in subsidies

AP reports

Six Kansas farms received more than $400,000 each in federal farm subsidies last year, according U.S. Department of Agriculture documents.

Cox Farms of Sublette in western Kansas received $508,000 in payments, most of any farm in the state, records show. The documents were obtained by The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act.

Other top subsidy recipients were Morning Star Farms of Greensburg, with $489,000; Spring Creek Family Farms of Manhattan, with $458,000; Clawson Farm Partnership of Satanta, with $457,000; Whit-Crop of Leoti, with $449,000; and Winger Farms of Johnson, with $414,000.

Current law limits farmers to $360,000 in subsidies a year, but that cap is filled with loopholes that allow many farms to exceed it.

EWG spokeswoman Erin Seidler calls the current farm subsidy program "a welfare system" for giant agriculture producers at the expense of small farmers. The group reports that 10% of all farmers receive three quarters of all farm subsidies, while two-thirds of farmers get no support at all.

Seidler's group doesn't advocate ending all subsidies, but it favors an overall cap on federal payments, with the money saved being redirected to land conservation subsidies.

"Agribusiness and large farms and landowners often are the ones receiving subsidies, while the small farmers are really only eligible for subsidies under the land conservation program," Seidler said. "That's what we're looking to change."

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