Congress Moves to Create New Farm Subsidy at Time of Record High Crop Prices

November 7, 2011 - 5:30 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Farm-state lawmakers are moving to create a new subsidy that would protect farmers when their revenue drops. The subsidy would be an unprecedented program that critics say could pay billions of dollars to farmers now enjoying record-high crop prices.

The subsidy is a free insurance that would cover farmers' "shallow crop losses" before their paid insurance kicks in. It would replace several other subsidy programs.

The income insurance plan has a diverse group of opponents. They include environmental groups that have long argued against farm subsidies, conservatives who say the plan won't save the government much and even one of the nation's largest farm groups.

The American Farm Bureau Federation says the beefed-up insurance could encourage farmers to make riskier decisions and drive up the price of land.