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Hans Tucker Alsup

Julia Remsik Larsen

English 120-086
New Mexico Federal Farm Subsidies
There are many programs put in place by the Government to help generate certain goods.
Typically the money is granted in the form of a subsidy, and when it comes to the New Mexico
area, some of the biggest subsidies are for agriculture. An agricultural subsidy is government
money used to support agricultural businesses, fund their revenue, manage the supply of product,
and influence the economical aspects of agricultural business. All of this money used to support
farms has to come from somewhere and it comes from the people who pay taxes and every time
a farm that relies on farming subsidies here fails, they get bailed out of that situation by the
government. It isnt fair to the people who pay taxes that they should get all of the money they
do now. In this essay I will discuss what it takes to receive a government agricultural subsidy, my
personal opinion on agricultural subsidies, and how I think we can change it for the better.
In order to receive a farming subsidy, the farm has to be currently producing a crop and
has to have all shareholders and owners working, providing land, or managing the farm. Every
partner or stockholder and even a member that has an ownership interest has to provide
management and or labor frequently and on a regular basis in order to be qualified for the
farming subsidies. If these people fail to meet one of those requirements, they will not qualify for
the program and their payments will be reduced. All of the money will not be taken away but it
will be reduced accordingly to the share held by the stockholder or member of the farm. People

owning land that the farming is happening on only get the subsidy if they are being paid rent
from the farmer for growing on their land.
Not everyone even qualifies for a subsidy. Some people may fake it or lie or even get
subsidies from the government that they were not supposed to. GAO found that of the 1.8
million individuals receiving farm payments from 2003 through 2006, 2,702 had an average
adjusted gross income (AGI) that exceeded $2.5 million and derived less than 75 percent of their
income from farming, ranching, or forestry operations, thereby making them potentially
ineligible for farm payments. (GAO). That means that most of their income came from the
government and not from their own farms. That is unfair to the people who pay taxes. If every
year this happened for the farmers, then the people of New Mexico are losing a ton of money.
According to the EWG, there are forty-five people in the zip code of 87113 receiving subsidies.
Just one zip code and who knows how much these people are getting from subsidies!
Nevertheless, USDA paid over $49 million to these individuals. (GAO). Forty-nine million
dollars went to fund these people that may not even making an income to meet the requirements
of their own farm. Nevertheless, the government keeps funding them. Where does this money
come from? The money comes from the taxpayers. According to USDA officials, a number of
factorssuch as resource constraints that hamper its ability to examine complex tax and
financial information as well as a lack of authority to obtain and use IRS tax filer data for such
purposes. (GAO). It sounds to me like the farmers are trying to fake money in order to get more
from the government even though they could be failing. They are essentially cheating the
government and the people of New Mexico out of their money in order to keep a job that they
should not have.

Since I was raised in a very rural, agriculturally influenced area of New Mexico I have a
pretty strong opinion when it comes to the landowners receiving financial aid for their
agricultural business. I feel like subsidies can be beneficial when it comes to maintaining a stable
agricultural economy and for helping struggling agricultural business owners. I, however, do not
feel like this is really the way that the federal government is using the funds they set aside for
these subsidies. According to EWG Farm Subsidies, the difference between the individual who is
sixth and seventh for the most money received in subsidies from 1995-2012 is $47,871. The
name of the person who received the most is R Jefferson Grant. In 2012 R. Jefferson Grant
received $160,000 more than the business that came in second on the list. To me this is a primary
example of how the people who already make the most money through having a successful
business continue to keep receiving unnecessary government aid. I understand that sometimes
subsidies are used to help business owners recover from an unpredictable disaster that may have
destroyed a large portion of their crops, but I do not think this is the case in most situations due
to the information early referenced in my paper about some people perhaps being unqualified for
funds they already received and spent. I have seen the effects of this unfair currency distribution
firsthand in my hometown of Clayton, New Mexico.
In Clayton, the many children are from families that have been farmers, ranchers, and
landowners for at least a few generations. Due to this new and exciting secular age, many
children do not stay in Clayton to eventually help run the farm. Instead they are going to college
and choosing something they would like to pursue, which is perfectly fine. This causes less and
less people to become eligible for usefully inheriting this land and it will, most of the time, end
up being sold to larger corporations and time goes on. This has been happening more and more
frequently due to the long and enormous drought that is going on all over the New Mexico area.

This drought causes people to have a lower yield because not as much water can be used to
sustain the livestock and produce their food in an effective manner. Because of the obvious
effects that this uneven distribution of wealth causes, something must be done. That is why I
have thought of a plan that could help make it easier for the business owners struggling, as well
as help the government stop such wasteful spending.
I feel like the first step the government should take is to reduce such wasteful spending
by giving subsidies to people who may not be eligible to receive these benefits. In order to do
this they must make a more strict selection process. According to the Government Accountability
Office, the United States Department of Agriculture does not have management controls. If this
is indeed the cause to this useless spending then the one thing I can really say is to add
management controls. It cannot be so difficult to hire a few more accountants to run audits and
make sure that people are eligible in receiving government benefits. With the money actually
where it is supposed to be, it will make sure that the big companies still receive some, just a lot
less, subsidies and the smaller agricultural businesses will have a larger chance of succeeding in
such a tough and cutthroat business. This would also produce more agricultural product overall
to not only sell within our own nation, but with even more agricultural efficiency we could
donate food to nations or groups in need. They next action that would have to be performed by
the government is to reevaluate how much farms should get for government subsidies. This
would just make the playing field a lot more even for all competitors in this business by making
sure that the large companies, that are already doing a good job at being successful, do not
receive as much money. This would also help reduce government spending in the agricultural
sector altogether. This is different from installing management controls, because instead of the
government completely not knowing that the person may be eligible, the person is eligible to

receive it, but should not due to the fact that they already own a successful agricultural business.
With these plans in action I, personally, feel that the government can make a considerable
difference in how efficient they can help make product, stabilizing some huge economical
factors, as well as help the rural areas of our nation.
Subsidies are given to farms in order to supplement their income and incentivize them in
order to keep farming. The government takes the taxes that people have to pay and use them in
order to fund the farms to generate certain goods. Most of the money they get to continue
farming and producing goods comes in the form of a subsidy. Every time a farm fails, the
subsidies are used in order to bail them out and have them keep farming but that uses the tax
payers money. It is not fair at all to the people who pay these taxes that they should continue to
support failing farms. There needs to be drastic changes to the way that subsidies and farms are
handled. Too many subsidies are used in order to keep failing farms afloat when the farms could
be faking their records of their money and taxes in order to keep receiving subsidies.

Works Cited
Office, United States Government Accountability. GAO Report to the Ranking Member,
(n.d.): n. pag. Gao.gov. GAO, Oct. 2008. Web. 2 May 2015.
"Fact Sheets." Fact Sheets. FSA, Dec. 2009. Web. 2 May 2015.
"New Mexico Summary Information." New Mexico Summary || EWG Farm Subsidy
Database. Environmental Working Group, n.d. Web. 02 May 2015.