There is something terribly ass backwards about Republicans who cut food stamps to common and poor American people. Yet, millions and millions of dollars are given in the name of Farm Subsidies or corporate welfare.
By Juan Montoya
Following our post on the subsidies provided to sugar-cane growers in Cameron County, we had one of our three readers alert us to the information that the federal government provides through the Dept. of Agriculture related to the dependence of local farmers on crop subsidies and insurance.
The graph above indicates that in the last 17 years, the U.S. taxpayer has been very, very good to local farmers who raked in $188 million in commodity subsidies, $67.2 million in crop insurance subsidies, and $30.7 million in disaster subsidies.
We wondered why gadflies like Dagoberto Barrera continue to bash food-stamp recipients while local farmers who grow unnecessary crops like sugar cane continue to exploit the generosity of the American taxpayer growing a crop that we don’t really need.
It’s interesting to note that local U.S. District 34 Rep. Filemon Vela has been appointed to a committee to iron out the crop subsidies in the new Farm Bill after the Republican-led House passed a separate bill dealing with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Now, will Vela – given the millions received by agribusiness in his district – move to protect the average taxpayer? Or will he simply make noises about his fiscal conservatism and continue the handouts to the top 10 percent who collected 90 percent of all subsidies, that is, his political contributors? That is, go along for the ride?
Historically, the food stamp program has been part of the farm bill, a huge piece of legislation that had routinely been passed every five years, authorizing financing for the nation’s farm and nutrition programs. But in July, House leaders split the bill’s farm and nutrition sections into separate measures, passing the farm legislation over Democrats’ objections.
The bill, written under the direction of the House majority leader, Eric Cantor, Republican of Virginia, cut $40 billion from the food stamp program over the next 10 years. It would also require adults between 18 and 50 without minor children to find a job or to enroll in a work-training program in order to receive benefits.
It would also limit the time those recipients could get benefits to three months. Currently, states can extend food stamp benefits past three months for able-bodied people who are working or preparing for work as part of a job-training program.
Below is a list of the top 25 “farmers” and corporations in Cameron County (Brownsville, Zip Code 78520) who received government subsidies, including some paid to set aside acreage (not to plant) and the totals they received from 1995-2012. Notice this does not include the members of the Santa Rosa Sugar Cane Growers who not only receive crop commodity payments, but are also protected by tariffs which keep out sugar imports from other countries and inflate the price Americans pay for that commodity. Amendments to the food-stamp program also allow SNAP recipients to purchase foods containing sugar (candy, soda pop, etc.) to purchase sugar-based products with the federal stipends. What a sweet deal, hey Fil?
1. San Miguel Partnership: $1,854, 561.68
2. Leal Farms, Inc.: $1,408,455.17
3. Mathers Family Parternship, Ltd.: $939,407,39
4. Frank D. Yturria: $916,850.00
5. Flores Farms Jv.: $788,518.71
6. Edward Mathers Farms: $749,392.99
7. John L. George: $557,257.00
8. T. Norberto Flores: $379,029.02
9. M.f Yturria Grandson’s Trust: $225,410.00
10. Mary and Frank Yturria Family Ranch: $182,924.00
11. Mathers Farms Jv: $160,000.00
12. Sampayo-Garcia Farming Lc.:$152,282.00
13. Pf Sweeney and Sat Jv.: $142,098.33
14. Teofilo H. Flores Jr.: $139,885.11
15. Frank Edward Mathers: $125,168.00
16. Empresa Inc.: $121,672.39
17. Diana Ines Santiso Del Rio: $110,720.86
18. Nelson Smith: $101,500.36
19.Leal Brothers: $86,423.00
20. Peyton F. Sweeney Sr.: $86,288.35
The San Miguel Partnership corporation has its address listed as 186 Creekbend in Brownsville and listed its subsidies as:
Cotton – $1,157,953
Sorghum – $224,254
Corn – $112,295
Frank D. Yturria, Mary, Granson’s Trust ( millionaires in their own right), milked the taxpayer for: