U.S. farmers will realize $120.6 billion in net income this year, up 6 percent over last year and the second-highest amount since 1973, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. The government will pay farmers $11.1 billion in direct payments this year, up from $10.6 billion last year. The Senate and House versions of the pending five-year farm bill will cut these controversial direct payments, instead boosting crop insurance assistance.
A report issued by the Natural Resources Defense Council said that the Federal Crop Insurance Program paid out a record $17.3 billion in 2012 to compensate farmers for crop losses stemming from the year’s historic drought. Farmers in Missouri received roughly $1.1 billion. The NRDC, among others, has criticized the government’s crop insurance policy, saying it amounts to a support program that’s overly burdensome to taxpayers and is calling on Congress to limit insurance subsidies when it takes up the farm bill after its August recess.