WASTE WATCH: Farmers paying in peanuts
NASHVILLE, Tenn. —
Millions of our tax dollars are on loan to farmers, who aren't required to pay with money.
The US Department of Agriculture has an actual program for this. According to a report by the Congressional Research Service, the program accepts nuts instead of money for $74 million tax dollars loaned to farmers last year.
A farmer who plants peanuts in 12 states including Florida, Alabama and Georgia can cash-in by handing over the crop to the federal government at harvest instead of selling it at market price.
According to the Congressional Research Service, the federal government pays better.
On the USDA Farm Service Agency's website, it states programs like this "help to stabilize America’s peanut industry and ensure the well-being of agriculture in the United States."
But as of the beginning of 2017, a USDA Commodity Estimates Report shows 383-million pounds of the peanuts bought by tax payers are sitting in storage.
Some of these peanuts are used for domestic nutrition programs.
But more peanuts are being grown than the US can consume, according to the National Center for Peanut Competitiveness.
According to the USDA, continuing to take peanuts off the hands of farmers at tax payers expense won't only cost the price of the loans. The USDA expects an additional billion dollars a year in storage costs for the crops.