Mega-Farms, Government Agencies and the Rich Get Bulk of Federal Farm Aid, AP Survey Shows

Almost two-thirds of the $27 billion in federal farm subsidies doled out last year went to just 10 percent of America's farm owners, including multimillion-dollar corporations and government agencies, a review of Agriculture Department records by The Associated Press shows.

Rules that base subsidy payments on farm acreage, rather than financial need, mean that taxpayer money flowed to people like media mogul Ted Turner, pro basketball star Scottie Pippen and an heir to the Rockefeller fortune. They also mean some of the wealthiest members of Congress received aid from farm programs they voted for.

At least 20 Fortune 500 companies and more than 1,200 universities and government farms, including state prisons, received checks from federal programs touted by politicians as a way to prop up needy farmers. Subsidies also went to real estate developers and absentee landowners in big cities from Chicago to New York. Sen. Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat and chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, called such examples an "embarrassment, a black eye that can only undermine public and taxpayer support for the programs."

- See more at: