Candidate Cauthorn opposes federal government, receives USDA subsidies

Thursday, July 29, 2010 | 4:35 p.m. CDT; updated 1:05 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 30, 2010

*CORRECTION: Cauthorn has received federal farm subsidies from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for 15 years. An earlier version of this story misstated the number.

COLUMBIA — Farmer and Republican candidate for the Missouri House of Representatives 21st District John Cauthorn touts less federal government as one of his top issues. He’s also received $435,921 in federal farm subsidies from the U.S. Department of Agriculture over the past 15* years, according to a database of USDA subsidies maintained by the Environmental Working Group.

“I would just as soon that the government get out of agriculture,” Cauthorn said. “At the federal level, the federal government is so messed up now, what we’re even receiving (in subsidies) has diminished in recent years.”

He said he received the subsidies for financial assistance.

“I rent ground, and the landlords want that help,” Cauthorn said. “... sometimes it can be a safety net in tough times.”

He doesn’t think the agricultural subsidies, which deter an increase in product prices and often are paid out to manage the supply of certain crops, should be available from the government.

“I think the farming community should be based on free enterprise,” Cauthorn said. “Everybody that farms has basically taken that money. We feel like we’re being controlled.”

Mike Becker, who’s running against Cauthorn in the Aug. 3 primary, said he thinks it’s backwards for a candidate to propose eliminating social programs in Missouri but accept federal financial assistance.

“The thing about that is that yes, farmers need subsidies on crops to compete in the world market,” Becker said. “But to say to the federal government, ‘help me, help me, help me’ and then in interviews to say, ‘we have to cut, cut, cut,’ it’s like saying it’s OK for me to get it, but not you. I think that’s wrong.”

Cauthorn, who supports cutting social programs and tax credits to balance the state’s budget, said the state doesn’t offer much help to farmers.

“About all the state does for agriculture is offer tax credits for enterprises that have a good a return for the taxpayers,” Cauthorn said.

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Tim Dance July 29, 2010 | 10:24 p.m.

Typical rural Republican. Say the Tea-Party line while receiving tax money from them. Less government for everybody, but John Cauthorn I guess.

(Report Comment)
Alysha Love July 30, 2010 | 10:30 a.m.

Here's some context for John Cauthorn's subsidy payments, from Environmental Working Group's website:

-58% of Missouri farmers didn't collect subsidy payments.
-The top 10% of Missouri farmers collected an average of $21,107 per year between 1995 and 2009.
-The bottom 80% of Missouri farmers collected an average of $515 per year between 1995 and 2009.
-John Cauthorn collected an average of $29,061 per year between 1995 and 2009.
More information on farm subsidies is available at

(Report Comment)
Dawn Clabaugh July 31, 2010 | 1:39 p.m.

Ms Love,

It seems to be a pattern with the Republicans. Congresswoman Michelle Bachman (R) has nearly the mirror image of John Cauthorn.

However, what has got my energy flowing to get out the vote, was Congressman Anthony Weiner (D) last week. I agree with him 100%

HOW DARE the party of NO, the Republican Party whom put Corporate Interests above the US voting citizen, DEFEAT a bill that would have given "Our First Responders on 9/11" free medical care. Some have already died from illness's suffered from the clean up. Many are still suffering and going bankrupt. This is not right! The GOP has thrown all patriotism out the window with this one!

I will work to try and defeat the GOP, not only in Missouri, but in all states that need me. I will canvass, make phone calls,write letters and do what ever I can to see that an Independent, Democrat, Green Party, Progressive or Liberal win their political seats.

(Report Comment)
Keith Kuper August 1, 2010 | 12:00 p.m.

I won't vote for Cauthorn and will campaign against him, but not because he accepts subsidies that he's legally entitled to. I farm, and while opposed to farm subsidies--especially to the wealthy--I have no choice but accept them in order to compete against other farmers who also take subsidies. Subsidies allow farmers to pay more for production inputs, such as land, and still turn a profit. In fact, farm subsidies don't benefit farmers directly but are capitalized into higher land values and rents, so the beneficiaries of subsidies are land owners.

(Report Comment)

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