The rich are apparently getting richer — from farm payments. A report out Monday found more than 2,700 people nationwide who earned more than two-and-a-half million dollars a year and still pulled in farm subsidies.
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says it’s aggravating that the U.S.D.A. continues to let the wealthy take advantage of the system. Grassley says he’s been pushing the agency to fix these — and other –glaring and expensive errors.
“There were some instances where people had been dead for a long period of time who were continuing to get farm payments, not just once but more than once, because people in the Department of Agriculture are not doing their job,” Grassley says. The latest report says the 2,700 wealthy people collected more than 49-million dollars in farm subsidies over four years.
Grassley says this report, and other actions by Congress, should send a clear signal to U.S.D.A. that these millionaires should not be getting farm payments. “We have tightened up in the new Farm Bill the restrictions for two classes of people, one farmers, one non-farmers, that there’s more restrictions, in the case of non-farmers, it’d be a half-a-million dollars income instead of two-and-a-half million, and in the case of farmers, it’d be $750,000 instead of the two-and-a-half million,” Grassley says.
Still-tighter restrictions would have been desired, Grassley says, as he’d fought for a “hard cap” of $250,000 income as the payment cutoff, but failed. He says 10% of the farmers are getting 70% of the federal benefits.