Food Prices May Force Cuts in Farm Subsidies

Normally 'untouchable' price supports at risk in Congress
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 2, 2008 2:32 PM CDT
The rising prices of groceries have Congress questioning the wisdom of passing out subsidies to rich farmers to produce biofuels instead of food crops.   (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)
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(Newser) – Soaring food prices are putting pressure on Congress to withdraw some of the billions in  farm subsidies and ethanol incentives that have been considered politically untouchable for decades, the Los Angeles Times reports. With average farm income more than $89,000 this year—30% above the national average—the White House wants to cut off payments to farmers who earn $500,000 or more. Farm lobbyists are trying to double that.

The push to divert  more corn from the dinner table to the gas tank, popular in Congress just a year ago, is now widely blamed for jacking up prices. "It's hard to believe that in five months our country has gone from a strong commitment to pay any price for energy security to the kind of backlash we've seen against ethanol," said a corn lobbyist.