The USDA is preparing to release the records of the individual recipients of about $56 billion in farm subsidy payments, the AP is reporting. This should contain some really interesting stuff– look for patterns that allow individuals to circumvent the $360,000 payment cap, and check for links to Members of Congress, staff, and especially political donors. Of course, some of the worst programs won’t even be exposed by this disclosure– for example, the sugar program provides massive, multi-million dollar benefits to the biggest growers by rigging the price we pay. Even so, this new data should be a good step forward– the one kind of sunshine that many of America’s commodity program farmers don’t want to see.
We need to make sure that this disclosure requirement is again part of the new Farm Bill that Congress will take up next year.