Commodities are Subsidized ~70x more than Fruits and Vegetables

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree is an organic farmer representing Maine district 1 in the House of Representatives. A common theme for Representative Pingree is to point out how farm bill compensation disproportionately benefits soy, corn, and other commodity growers, while neglecting fruit and vegetable, or ‘specialty crop’ growers.

“Vegetables are called specialty crops. Over the last five years, we’ve invested about $269 million of federal money in enhancing what we do with specialty crops. Contrast that with $19 billion into the commodities … 70 times as much.”

Chellie Pingree, Mar 11, 2014 Ted Talk

In order to properly digest Representative Pingree’s infographic below, note that, depending on the commodity grain, up to 95% of that crop is grown for livestock feed. Therefore, much of the subsidy payments to corn, soy, oat, sorghum, and barley growers are actually subsidies for animal ag.

From Congresswoman Pingree’s 2014 Ted Talk

This is a really lovely picture of the new way to visualize how your food plate should look. But I did a little modification to show you what does it look like if you compare the subsidies. There’s corn, cotton, tobacco. That tiny little sliver up there that you can just barely see in green – that’s what fruits and vegetables got.”

Chellie Pingree, Mar 11, 2014 Ted Talk
From Rep Chellie Pingree’s 2014 Ted Talk

These comments were from 2014. Wow how subsidies have exploded since then.

Ag Bailouts
click the infographic for details