Government commodity payments continue to shift to larger farms, higher income households

Government commodity payments continue to shift to larger farms, higher income households

As farm production has shifted to farms with larger sales, so, too, has the distribution of commodity-related program payments. And, because the average household income of farmers typically increases with farm sales, farm households with higher incomes are receiving a larger share of commodity program payments than in the past. For example, in 1991, half of commodity payments went to households with incomes over $54,940 in constant 2009 dollars (50th percentile) and a quarter of commodity payments went to farm households with incomes greater than $115,000 (75th percentile). By 2009, the distribution of payments had shifted upward considerably, with half of commodity payments going to households with incomes over $89,540 and a quarter going to farm households with incomes greater than $209,200. This chart is found in the March 2012 issue of Amber Waves magazine.


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