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Chapter 4. Rice

The Cash Croppers: Farm Subsidies 1985-1994: Chapter 4. Rice

September 2, 1995

From 1985 through 1994, 62,748 recipients were paid nearly $5 billion in rice deficiency payments nationwide. The top 2 percent of these recipients--1,255 individuals, corporations, and other business entities--were paid more than 16 percent of all rice deficiency subsidies, totaling more than $825 million over 10 years. These top recipients of rice deficiency subsidies were paid an average of $658,016 over the decade, more than eight times the amount paid to the average rice deficiency recipient was paid over the same period. The top 2 percent of rice deficiency recipients also received subsidies one and a half times as often as the average individual recipient: 8.1 years out of 10, as opposed to 5.3 years of 10 for the average recipient. Rice deficiency payments appear to have become even more concentrated in recent years; payments to the top 2 percent of recipients equaled just 6.7 percent of total rice deficiency subsidies in 1985, but have ranged from 21.3 percent to 22.6 percent of total rice deficiency subsidies since 1990.

 

Recipient Category: Individuals

Nationwide, just under 45,000 individuals received a total of nearly $3 billion in rice deficiency payments from 1985 through 1994. The top 2 percent of these recipients, or 895 individuals, received 13 percent of these payments, totaling $389 million. Each of these top individuals received, on average, $434,840 in rice deficiency payments over the ten years examined, which was 6.5 times more than the payment to the average individual over the same period. Almost all of these individuals received subsidies for all 10 of the last 10 years, compared with an average of 5.8 of 10 years for all individuals receiving rice deficiency payments.

 

Recipient Category: Corporations with Stockholders

A total of 5,127 corporations captured more than $614 million in rice deficiency subsidies from 1985 to 1994. The top 103 corporations, or 2 percent of the total, were paid just under $50 million, an average of $482,037 in rice deficiency payments per top corporation over ten years. These top corporations earned four times as much as the average corporation receiving rice deficiency subsidies; received payments in nearly twice as many years (9.8 years out of 10, as compared with 5.2 years out of 10 for all corporations); and received more than twice as much subsidy per year of participation as the average corporation.

 

Recipient Category: General Partnerships

Over the past decade, 4,328 general partnerships were paid just over $1 billion in rice deficiency subsidies. Of that total, $137 million, or 13.5 percent of all rice deficiency subsidies to general partnerships, went to just 87 general partnerships. The average general partnership in this top 2 percent was paid more than $1.57 million in rice deficiency subsidies from 1985 through 1994, or 6.7 times the amount received by the average general partnership. The general partnerships among these top 2 percent received rice deficiency subsidies 7.8 years out of ten, which was 3 more years out of 10 than the average general partnership received rice deficiency subsidies.

 

Recipient Category: Joint Ventures

USDA files indicate that 861 joint ventures received nearly $124 million in federal rice deficiency payments from 1985 to 1994. Most of this money was paid during the 1990's: from 1985 through 1989, rice deficiency payments to joint ventures ranged from $623 thousand to $6.8 million, while these payments ranged from $12.9 million to $35.5 million from 1990 through 1994.

Just 17 joint ventures, representing the top 2 percent of joint ventures receiving rice deficiency payments, were paid 14.5 percent of the total rice deficiency subsidy to all joint ventures. On average, these joint ventures were each paid more than $1 million in rice deficiency subsidies, more than 7 times what the average joint venture was paid. The top 2 percent of joint ventures also received farm subsidies an average of 2 more years out of 10 than the average joint venture, and was paid nearly five times as much during each year of participation as the average joint venture.

 

Information About the Top 50 Recipients: Rice Payments

The top 3 recipients of rice payments in the nation were also the top 3 recipients of total subsidies in the nation: two corporations in Stuttgart, Arkansas and a corporation in Sacramento, California. Most of the top 50 recipients were general partnerships, and each of the top 50 recipients was paid more than $1.76 million over 10 years. Only Louisiana, Arkansas, California, Mississippi, and Texas had recipients among the top 50 in rice payments. The top 50 individuals receiving rice payments all were paid more than $550,000 over 10 years, and each of these individuals collected in rice deficiency subsidies in every year between 1985 and 1994.