American farmers did well in 2012, to say the least. They benefited from record-high commodity prices, burgeoning organic produce markets and high sale prices for farmland. As they have for two decades, farm families took home more annual income—about $20,000 more on average—than non-farm families. And they could count on many friends in Congress: While facing a “fiscal cliff,” the uncertain sustainability of entitlement programs and the near certainty of tax increases, members of both parties came together around bills that would have spent at least $950 billion on agricultural subsidies over the next 10 years, an increase of more than $300 billion from the most recent (2008) farm bill.
Photo by Fotolia/Ivonne Weirink