Direct Payments to Farmers, Conservation, and Food Stamps Lose While Soy, and Bio-Fuels Win in Senate Farm Bill

June 7, 2012 - The Senate may take up its version of the Farm Bill as early as this week, while the House is expected to finish its version before July 4. According to the Congresional Budget Office (reports available here and here), the Senate Farm Bill (S. 3240) will reduce spending by about $23.6 billion over 10 years, mostly by cutting direct payments to farmers, conservation programs, and nutritional programs such as food stamps.

MapLight has conducted an analysis of campaign contributions from interest groups from agribusiness industries to current members of the U.S. House and Senate from Jan. 1, 2001 – June 30, 2011.

Business House Senate Grand Total
Crop production & basic processing $7,994,435 $5,518,407 $13,512,842
Sugar cane & sugar beets $8,013,222 $2,410,396 $10,423,618
Milk & dairy producers $6,901,114 $2,765,124 $9,666,238
Tobacco & tobacco products $5,733,642 $2,855,379 $8,589,021
Livestock $4,801,988 $3,284,489 $8,086,477
Forestry & forest products $4,314,879 $2,941,910 $7,256,789
Food and kindred products manufacturing $3,370,976 $3,301,086 $6,672,062
Food stores $3,838,467 $2,605,691 $6,444,158
Agricultural services & related industries $3,319,428 $1,828,580 $5,148,008
Vegetables, fruits, and tree nuts $2,439,918 $1,347,786 $3,787,704
Agricultural chemicals (fertilizers & pesticides) $1,909,235 $1,549,169 $3,458,404
Meat processing & products $1,813,751 $1,220,079 $3,033,830
Poultry & eggs $1,930,351 $1,035,206 $2,965,557
Farm organizations & cooperatives $1,963,282 $660,008 $2,623,290
Farm machinery & equipment $1,536,269 $965,773 $2,502,042
Other commodities (incl. rice, peanuts, honey) $1,474,709 $930,657 $2,405,366
Veterinarians $1,311,100 $995,824 $2,306,924
Paper & pulp mills and paper manufacturing $1,120,194 $1,058,495 $2,178,689
Cotton $1,306,427 $687,560 $1,993,987
Florists & nursery services $1,015,352 $651,464 $1,666,816
Food & beverage products and services $867,393 $753,621 $1,621,014
Food wholesalers $934,145 $671,896 $1,606,041
Animal feed & health products $726,835 $860,550 $1,587,385
Wheat, corn, soybeans, and cash grain $890,136 $569,170 $1,459,306
Grain traders & terminals $428,500 $350,300 $778,800
Agriculture $388,284 $337,186 $725,470
Horse breeders $316,098 $354,474 $670,572
Feedlots & related livestock services $341,450 $180,400 $521,850
Sheep and wool producers $50,550 $51,560 $102,110
       
Grand Total $71,052,130 $42,742,240 $113,794,370

Major Changes

Below is a list of major spending changes from the previous Farm Bill, according to the CBO reports on S. 3240. Most cost estimates are for the 2013-2022 period. Several amendments are expected.

  • Ends direct payments to farmers for many crops, but adds a larger crop insurance plan.
  • Saves an estimated $19.8 billion over 10 years from ending direct payments.
  • Adds $5.1 billion to crop insurance programs.
  • Creates a new system of commodity payments under which soybean farmers are expected to receive $1.3 billion more in payments, while almost all other crops would receive less over 10 years.
  • Establishes new insurance programs for cotton and peanuts, costing $3.2 billion and $239 million, respectively.
  • Popcorn becomes a crop eligible for benefits.
  • Makes cuts to conservation programs totaling $6.4 billion.
  • Cuts $3.9 billion over 10 years in overall spending on nutritional programs, including $4.5 billion in direct cuts to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), previously known as food stamps. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) plans to introduce an amendment to prevent the SNAP cuts.
  • Adds $647 million to agricultural research, extension activities, and related issues.
  • Adds $780 million for energy programs, such as bio-fuels.
  • Adds $360 million for horticulture programs, which include specialty crops and promotion of farmers markets.
  • Provides $1.5 million in 2013 for the sheep production and marketing grant program.

METHODOLOGY: MapLight analysis of reported contributions to congressional campaigns of current U.S. senators from interest groups in the Agribusiness industry category. All figures for members of the U.S. Senate are from Jan 1, 2001 – June 30, 2011. Campaign contributions data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics (OpenSecrets.org).

About MapLight: MapLight is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that reveals money's influence on politics. If our work has been helpful to you, please consider supporting us.