The Top Two Percent of America's Farm Subsidy Recipients, 1985-1994
The Cash Croppers: Farm Subsidies 1985-1994: Chapter 5. Corn
Recipient Category: All Recipients
Nationwide, more than $33.3 billion in corn deficiency payments were paid to 1.3 million recipients between 1985 and 1994. Of this total, more than $7.5 billion, or 22.6 percent of all corn deficiency subsidies, were paid to the 25,918 recipients constituting the top 2 percent of corn deficiency payment recipients. These top 2 percent received an average of $290,504 in corn deficiency payments over ten years, an amount 11.3 times greater than the $25,697 in corn deficiency payments received by the average participant. The top 2 percent also received subsidies more frequently than the average recipient--9.4 years out of 10, as compared with 5.4 years out of 10 for the average corn deficiency recipient. The average recipient among the top 2 percent was paid more than $30,000 in corn deficiency subsidies during each year of participation in the program.
Recipient Category: Individuals
Just over one million individuals received a total of $26.5 billion in corn deficiency payments over the last decade. The top 2 percent of these individuals, or 20,756 recipients, were paid nearly $5.5 billion, or 20.6 percent of all corn deficiency subsidy money to individuals. This top 2 percent of individual recipients was paid an average of $263,682 over the ten years examined, and received payments for an average of 9.6 years out of ten. In contrast, the average subsidy recipient was paid just $25,527 over ten years--less than one tenth of the amount that the top 2 percent received. The average individual participated in the corn deficiency programs about a third less frequently than the top 2 percent of recipients.
Recipient Category: Corporations with Stockholders
Nearly 40,000 corporations received approximately $2.9 billion in corn deficiency payments over the last 10 years. Of this total, $364 million, or 12.7 percent of the total corn deficiency payments, went to the 787 corporations among the top 2 percent. These top corporations received an average of $47,184 in corn deficiency money each year of participation, as compared to $12,321 per year of participation for the average corporate recipient of corn deficiency payments. The top corporations also received corn deficiency subsidies more often than the average corporation: 9.8 out of the last 10 years, as compared to an average of 5.9 of 10 years for all corporations. The top 2 percent of corporations received an average of $462,847 in corn deficiency subsidies over 10 years--more than 6 times the amount paid to the average corporation.
Recipient Category: General Partnerships
From 1985 through 1994, more than $1.9 billion in corn deficiency subsidies were paid to 35,374 general partnerships nationwide. The top 2 percent of these general partnerships--just 707 in number--received $441 million, or 22.2 percent of all corn deficiency payments to general partnerships. These top general partnerships were each paid, on average, a total of $624,014 over the decade, more than 11 times the amount paid to the average general partnership. The top general partnerships also participated in corn deficiency programs more than 50 percent more frequently than the average: 8.8 years out of ten for the top 2 percent, as compared to 5.4 years of 10 for the average partnership. The top general partnerships received $70,656 in corn deficiency subsidies each year of participation, nearly 7 times the amount paid to the average partnership.
Recipient Category: Joint Ventures
Nearly 6,300 joint ventures received just over $174 million in corn deficiency payments over the past ten years. Almost 24 percent of these subsidies--$41.8 million--went to the 126 joint ventures among the top 2 percent of corn deficiency subsidy recipients. These 126 joint ventures received, on average, $331,673 in corn deficiency payments over 10 years, nearly 12 times the amount received by the average joint venture. These top joint ventures also received corn deficiency payments for 7.9 years out of 10, as compared with an average of 4.4 years of 10 for all joint ventures receiving corn deficiency payments.
Information About the Top 50 Recipients: Corn Payments
The top 6 recipients of corn payments received $2 million or more over the last 10 years, and the top 50 recipients of corn payments each received $1.2 million or more over the past 10 years. The top subsidy recipients were geographically diverse, but concentrated in the corn belt states, particularly Illinois. The top individuals for corn payments all received more than $775,000 over 10 years. The top 9 individuals all received more than $1 million in corn payments. Many of the top corn subsidy recipients benefited from large payments made by USDA from 1985 through 1989 to rent storage facilities for surplus corn.