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Report shows U.S. ag subsidies not as high as many countries

A new report says the U.S. is not the country paying the most in subsidies to farmers.  The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development annually analyzes 54 countries, and says ag subsidies worldwide topped 708 billion dollars per year through 2019, with around three-quarters of that paid to individual producers. 

The report says U.S. subsidy support has been consistently below average, with farmers receiving 11% of gross income between 2017 and 2019, while prices received were 4% higher with milk and sugar raising the average.

The report shows the U.S. in the middle of rankings for producer support by country as a percentage of gross farm receipts, with eleven countries including China plus the European Union all paying more.  The U.S. is also in the middle of the rankings based on subsidies relative to gross domestic product through 2019.

The organization says half of the worldwide direct payments were done in ways that tend to distort markets, including market price support and subsidies linked to output or use of unconstrained inputs. 

Other points from the report:

  • The report considers China an emerging economy. 
  • Most countries offer tax concessions on personal income from farming, mostly targeted to smaller farms. 
  • Countries like Argentina and India taxed ag producers, depressing domestic commodity prices.
  • Poorer countries say global subsidies by richer nations disproportionately disadvantage their producers.

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