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City Slickers

How farm subsidy checks end up in big cities

Note 1

March 1, 1995

City Slickers: Note 1

1 One anecdotal bit of evidence of such indirect payments came to light as we were preparing this study. A number of journalists visited the EWG computer center to learn about our farm subsidy database. Of the first eight reporters who visited, one of our analysts noted, two remarked that they had received farm program payments via the families of their spouses. They did not know what programs the payments were made under, nor even were they certain of the location of the farm beyond what state it was in. Nor was it clear that they had ever actually visited the farms. But every so often a check appeared, they said, representing the spouse's share of a farm program payment that had been disbursed from a trust or other entity located hundreds of miles from their current place of residence. This is precisely the type of transaction that EWG was unable to track in City Slickers.