USDA livestock subsidies top $59 billion

The Department of Agriculture has spent at least $59 billion in subsidies for livestock and seafood producers since 1995, according to a new EWG analysis.

By contrast, USDA has allocated a mere $124 million since 2001 to support plant-based proteins and other alternatives to animal proteins

Overall, EWG’s analysis reveals that the USDA granted over $59 billion in payments to support livestock operators between 1995 and 2021, with more than $15 billion specifically going to lessen the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Other major animal agriculture expenses include $18 billion in livestock commodity purchases and nearly $18 billion in other subsidies, such as those that go to  dairy operators. Crop insurance subsidies to livestock operators have also increased in recent years. 

Subsidies over the years

Source: USDA data obtained by EWG

EWG’s analysis of subsidies to livestock operators did not include the commodity and crop insurance payments made to farmers who grow animal feed like corn and soybeans.

Payments to support livestock operators peaked at $11 billion in 2020 and have exceeded $1 billion in 14 of the past 25 years. 

EWG interns Ezekial Friendly and Atticus Friendly contributed to this update

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