President Barack Obama called in his 2012 budget plan for the elimination of farm subsidies to the wealthiest U.S. growers on Monday, arguing that the payments distort the farm sector and some farmers can be paid even if no crops are grown.
Lawmakers rejected an identical proposal a year ago, ahead of the 2010 mid-term elections. They said any change in farm supports should be delayed until a scheduled overhaul in 2012.
Obama said his plan would save $2.6 billon over 10 years, a comparatively small amount of overall farm spending, while preserving a farm safety net against low prices or crop failures. The changes would affect roughly 30,000 people, the Agriculture Department has estimated, out of 1.2 million farm subsidy recipients.