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Philadelphia ‘city slickers’ have received millions in federal farm subsidies over 25 years

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While growing the farm subsidies, the Trump administration is planning to remove 700,000 low-income people from SNAP rolls nationwide by April, including 38,000 in Philadelphia.

By Alfred Lubrano
Philadelphia Inquiere
January 26, 2020


They don’t milk cows or plant corn, but nearly 900 Philadelphians have collected federal farm subsidies totaling $3.2 million in the last 25 years.

Residents with addresses ranging from Center City to Chestnut Hill receive annual checks, often based on nothing more than their family connections to farms in states far afield from Pennsylvania, according to an Inquirer analysis of U.S. Department of Agriculture data obtained by two organizations: Environmental Working Group (EWG), a Washington, D.C., nonprofit and advocacy group, and American Transparency, an Illinois public charity.

Ever since the 1930s, government subsidies have been paid to growers to offset agricultural cost and risk. But under one arcane aspect of the program, money also is funneled to children, first cousins, nieces, and other relatives living far from the cabbage patch and pig pen.

All they have to say is that they’re “actively engaged in farming,” however remotely, by contributing ideas or planning. Their spouses, not connected to the farms in any way, are eligible for subsidies of their own too.

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