The evolving distribution of payments from commodity, conservation, and Federal crop insurance programs.

Published online
14 Feb 2018
Content type

McFadden, J. R. & Hoppe, R. A.

Publication language


Agricultural policies - through Federal commodity, conservation, and crop insurance programs - aim to mitigate the financial risks faced by farmers and the environmental risks posed by agricultural production. The programs also provide support to farmers through direct financial assistance, in the case of commodity and conservation programs, and through premium subsidies in the case of crop insurance. Changes in the structure of agriculture have changed the distribution of income support over time. Specifically, commodity program payments, some conservation program payments, and Federal crop insurance indemnities have shifted to larger farms as U.S. agricultural production continues to consolidate. Since the operators of larger farms have higher household incomes than those of smaller farms, commodity program payments and support through Federal crop insurance have also shifted to higher income households. This study details the extent of that shift over 25 years from 1991 through 2015.

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