Farm Subsidies Database

Want to see what your state/county receives in government farm subsidies? The Environmental Working Group has compiled a huge database that lists great details on who is receiving commodity based subsidies and the amounts they are receiving in your state.

About EWG

The Environmental Working Group is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to using the power of information to protect human health and the environment. To learn more about we what do—and the many issues like farm subsidies, cosmetics, tap water, organics, and non-stick chemicals that we research

View the database here.


This advertisement is ripped out of this week’s Newsweek magazine. Now, is it just me or is this ad just a little creepy? It shows an ear of corn and the company logo/slogan “BASF: The Chemical Company.” The ad proclaims that corn based ethanol is a viable fuel source (of course it’s not…). Corn based ethanol actually needs as much energy to create the fuel as the fuel produces when burned in automobiles. This is a net zero effect.

What’s really happening behind the scenes is that 33% of all government based farm subsidies go toward corn production. We have too much corn in this country, we don’t need to produce more quantity! BASF makes loads of money by increased corn production, from farmers that “farm the system” using government (tax payer) subsidies. They just so happen to also produce the ethanol on the other end. Pretty clever multi-tiered revenue streams. You see…it’s companies like BASF, Monsanto and others that make all the money in agriculture….not farmers.

From the company that brought you…


Bleaching agents



Melamine (our Chinese friend)

Hydroxylamine compounds


Industrial Coatings

Detergents and Formulators

Superabsorbents Industrial Applications

The list goes on…

They are now happy to introduce, “Food.” (and fuel), but don’t worry, there will be plenty of corn leftover for animal feed, high fructose corn syrup, mayonnaise, soda, apartame, sorbitol, MSG, xanthan gum, etc.

This chemical company creates the genetically modified corn seed, the fertilizers, the pesticides, the herbicides that are the building blocks of our industrial food system. It’s a closed loop, with most of the money coming full circle back to BASF and other chemical companies.

Our food system is one of the biggest lies being ‘fed’ to us today. Let’s get it together and let our government know that this is unacceptable and the system needs real reform! In September, Congress and the Senate will vote on a new food (farm) bill that will be in place for the next five years. We have an opportunity to have our voices heard on this.  The book “Food Fight” by Daniel Imhoff is a great read and resource on the Farm Bill for us regular citizens.

Three out of the top five "commodity" crops produced in the U.S. make up the main ingredients of a Twinkie (wheat, corn and soybeans).  Not surprisingly, these three commodity crops along with rice and cotton are heavily subsidized by the US government ($25 billion a year).  So let’s say I am conglomerate food manufacturer and I want the cheapest raw ingredients I can get my hands on to produce some funky product, like the Twinkie.  These are the exactly the types of ingredients I would start with.  They are cheap (the government subsidizes them) and they are plentiful (farmers grow more because they want the subsidy).  Not even Mexico can produce corn this cheaply.  American farmers are putting Mexican farmers out of business, artificially of course.

So you ask….what about the dozens of other fruits, vegetables and grains?  How are they being subsidized?  Well in short….they’re not.  And we as consumers spend more to purchase these crops.  We pay closer to what it actually costs to produce these foods.  As opposed to paying less at checkout and more at tax time. 

Of course, government subsidies are needed to help farmers.  I am not saying we should eliminate them.  There are bad years and small crops.  Farmers that supply our food chain should be able to weather bad years.  The money just needs to be divided up more.  Sure the five commodity crops would still get money, but so would smaller family farms that grow other varieties of produce.  It’s time that we as EATERS told our government what types of food we want our money spent on!  Vote with your dollars!   Check out this article on the 2007 Farm Bill.

read Michael Pollen’s article "You Are What You Grow" in the NYtimes

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