Wisconsin ranks 16th in nation for dollars received from USDA subsidies

Over the past 25 years, Wisconsin has received $10.1B; Texas #1 at $40B.
Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 5:58 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars are directed each year to the country’s farms to help keep agriculture afloat when times get tough.

But the federal government is sending millions of these subsidy dollars in the names of people who live and work hundreds of miles from the farms that get the money. Though they are supposed to be actively engaged in the farm’s work, it is unclear how or if they actually are.

Through U.S. Department of Agriculture data, InvestigateTV found several people who netted farms hundreds of thousands of dollars each, despite having jobs outside of farming: over three years almost $340,000 for an NFL luxury suite coordinator and more than $400,000 for a senior interior designer.

So how much of this federal money is being given to Wisconsin farmers? 25 years of subsidy data from the Environmental Working Group, or EWG, shows from 2005 to 2020, Texas has received the most USDA taxpayer funded farming subsidies with almost $40B. Iowa comes in at number 2 with more than $35.5B. Wisconsin ranks 16th highest in the nation receiving $10.1B in the same time frame.

Statewide in Wisconsin, Dane County is the highest paid county for farming subsidies receiving almost $530M in the past 25 years, followed by Grant County with $460M.

The top three programs that Wisconsin money has gone to are corn subsidies, conservation reserve programs and dairy programs.

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