The Buzz

The facts, faces and hum of local politics with Steve Kraske and Dave Helling

Which costs more: Food stamps or farm subsidies?

07/10/2013 7:00 AM

07/09/2013 4:57 PM

Okay, the math is rough...but let’s take a look at what splitting the farm bill into an ag subsidy title and a food stamps title might actually mean.

The House farm bill shot down in June would have cost $939 billion over ten years. For easy math, let’s round up to $1 trillion, or about $100 billion annually.

Of that, 80 percent — $80 billion — goes for food stamps. The rest, broadly, goes for ag help, about $20 billion a year.

In 2013, 47.6 million people received food stamps. That means recipients get about $1,680 in benefits, on average, each year.

There are roughly 3.1 million farmers who split the remaining $20 billion in the farm bill. That works out to $6,451 per farmer.

So overall spending on food stamps is much higher than farm subsidies. But on a per-person basis, farmers come out ahead.

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