An Illinois corn and soybean farmer walks to his tractor while cultivating his field.
May 30, 2013 Farmers have been getting these government checks for years. Essentially, insurance allows farmers to lock in price guarantees — while taxpayers foot 60 percent of the premiums. Critics say such subsidies help the rich get richer and minimize risk so much, they incentivize farming on marginal lands.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/187346726/187346715" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Peanut plants grow on a Halifax, N.C., farm that received federal subsidies in 2011.
Robert Willett/MCT /Landov
May 9, 2013 Farmers say they are ready to compromise with some environmental groups on the issue of conservation compliance. But critics say the price tag for the taxpayer may be too high.
Corn plants dry in a drought-stricken farm field near Fritchton, Ind., last summer.
Scott Olson/Getty Images
May 1, 2013 Corn and soybean farmers not only survived last year's epic drought — thanks to crop insurance, they made bigger profits than they would have in a normal year, a new analysis finds. And a big chunk of those profits were provided through taxpayer subsidies.
These piglets on the Hardin farm in Danville, Ind., are going to cost more to feed than they will fetch at market.
July 25, 2012 The crops taking the worst hit from the current drought are the ones we feed to animals, like corn. Higher corn prices mean it can cost more to feed pigs and cattle than they will fetch at market, meaning higher meat prices for all.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/157355792/157382513" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
The Yazoo River floodwaters inundate crops last year in Yazoo County, Mississippi
Mario Tama/Getty Images
April 20, 2012 Crop insurance is a sticky issue in the debate over the shape of the farm bill this year. But what if a simplified version of the program could save taxpayers billions of dollars? One economist says it could.
NPR thanks our sponsors
Become an NPR sponsor