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Farm Bill Steers Nevada’s Tax Dollars to the Midwest

March 5, 2008

Las Vegas, NV – There's a battle in Washington this week with nearly $300 billion of your tax dollars at stake. At issue is the national farm bill, and many worry that, no matter who wins, the Silver State won't be seeing much green.

Michelle Perez, with the Environmental Working Group, explains that two-thirds of the nation's farm subsidy money ends up with only ten percent of the nation's farms, and they tend to be the largest and wealthiest corporate farms. She says Nevada ranks near the bottom when it comes to reaping financial benefits from the farm bill.

"That's because Nevada does not grow the right favored commodity crops such as corn and cotton and rice and soybeans. So your taxpayers are providing funds to the middle of the country, to the wealthiest corporations that don't need our help."

Supporters of those subsidy payments argue they help keep commodity prices down for the consumer. Congress faces a March 15 deadline to come up with a compromise.

Right now, the debate in Washington is focused on how wealthy a farmer can be and still receive subsidy payments. Perez says you may be surprised to learn that farms making more than $2 million a year can still get government help.

"The House is trying to lower that amount to $1 million, and the administration, one year ago, set a $200,000 income means test, which is significantly better than $2.5 million, but it’s still ludicrous, given that only two percent of all Americans make more than $200,000 a year."

The farm bill also funds the food stamp program, which Perez says has not seen a significant benefit increase in decades.

Michael Clifford/Eric Mack, Public News Service - NV