by Jason Linkins
Huffington Post


When most people think about farm subsidies, chances are they do not immediately think “massive taxpayer money boondoggle that should be cut from the federal budget immediately.” They’ve probably heard about how hard it is out there for small family farmers, doing honest work in the world, keeping everyone fed and maintaining our institutional repository of agricultural practices. Surely, these subsidies are helping to keep an important way of life alive for the True Sons of Soil and Toil … like, say, multi-billionaire Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

Wait. What? He’s a farmer?

Ha ha, yes. As it turns out, your taxpayer dollars “subsidize” the “farming” that’s being done by a host of mega-rich superstars from the Forbes 400 list, none of whom you’d immediately associate with the sort of hardscrabble agri-artisan who’s in need of a leg up from the federal government. But their numbers are legion. According to the Environmental Working Group, “at least 50 billionaires or farm businesses in which they had a financial interest benefited from $11.3 million in traditional farm subsidies between 1995 and 2012.” And the farm bill currently being considered contains changes that will likely increase the subsidies these billionaires take away.

Some examples:

1. Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft

Net worth: $15.8 billion
His Kona Residence Trust received $14,429 in barley subsidies from 1996 to 2006.

2. Philip Anschutz, owner of Anschutz Entertainment Group and co-founder of Major League Soccer

Net worth: $10 billion
His Clm Company received $553,323 in cotton, wheat, sorghum, corn, oat, barley and other farm subsidies from 1995-2003. His Equus Farms received $53,291 in livestock subsidies in 2002.

3. S. Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A

Net worth: $6 billion
His Rock Ranch LLC received $4,536 in livestock subsidies in 2003.

4. Richard DeVos, co-founder of Amway

Net worth: $6.8 billion
His Ada Holdings LLC received $37,986 in corn, wheat and soybean subsidies from 2001 to 2006.

5. Charles Ergen, co-founder of DISH Network

Net worth: $12.5 billion
His Telluray Ranch received $117,826 in crop and livestock disaster payments from 2002 to 2008.

6. Jim Kennedy, chairman of Cox Enterprises

Net worth: $6.7 billion
Kennedy received $37,162 in rice, corn, sorghum, wheat, soybean, sunflower and other farm subsidies from 1996 to 2004. His York Woods At Yonkapin Cutoff LLC, received $19,545 in rice, sorghum and soybean subsidies from 2002 to 2003.

7. Leonard Lauder, former CEO of the Estee Lauder Companies Inc.

Net worth: $7.6 billion
His Horizon Organic Dairy Idaho Farm received $360,102 in wheat, diary, barley, corn and other farm subsidies from 1997 to 2004. His Horizon Organic Dairy Maryland Farm received $202,088 in dairy, corn, soybean, wheat and other farm subsidies from 1998 to 2005.

8. Penny Pritzker, U.S. Secretary of Commerce

Net worth: $2.2 billion
Her Chicago Mill & Lumber Co. received $1,604,288 in cotton, soybean, corn, sorghum, wheat, rice, oat and other farm subsidies from 1996 to 2006.

9. Charles Schwab, founder of brokerage firm Charles Schwab Corporation

Net worth: $5.1 billion
Schwab received $525,593 in rice and other farm subsidies from 1995 to 2003.

10. Alice and Jim Walton, Wal-Mart heirs

Net worth: $33.5 billion and $33.8 billion, respectively.
Their Robson Ranch Inc. received $261,292 in crop disaster payments, wheat, soybean, corn and other farm subsidies from 1995 to 2008.

11. Leslie Wexner, CEO of L Brands Inc., which owns Victoria’s Secret

Net worth: $5.7 billion
His LAW Plantation Co. LLC received $209,717 in wheat, corn, sorghum and oat subsidies from 1997 to 2003.

Read the Full Story here:

See Also:

YOU the Taxpayer are Funding the Agri Business Takeover of our Food Supply