Farm-State Voters Oppose Commodity Cuts

W.K. Kellogg study shows a strong bi-partisan majority of voters in Iowa, Kansas and Minnesota oppose any cuts in USDA job programs, nutrition programs or programs to protect water and land. Compiled by staff

Published on: Aug 2, 2005

A W.K. Kellogg Foundation commissioned study found that voters in three farm states--Iowa, Kansas and Minnesota--strongly oppose any cuts in USDA jobs programs, nutrition programs and programs to protect land water. Nearly two-thirds of voters resist cuts in commodity subsidy programs (wheat, corn, soybeans, rice and cotton.)

The study was conducted June 27 to 30, 2005 of 900 registered voters, 300 from each state. Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research Inc. of Washington, D.C., and Greener and Hook of Arlington, Virginia, were commissioned by the Kellogg Foundation to gain a better understanding of what voters views are about USDA programs.

Payment limits were well received by those surveyed. The sentiment for limiting payment limits to $250,000 rises higher among farm income voters and Republicans than among voters as a whole. The reports states, "It would be wrong to conclude this is some sort of desire on the part of voters in these states to punish those associated with farming. Instead, it would seem to be the case that in tight fiscal times, voters in these states believe it is time to draw a line as to what is and is not reasonable for the government to directly give to any single farm."

Here are some of their key findings:

  • Nearly two-thirds resist cuts in commodity subsidy programs.
  • By more than a two-to-one margin, voters in these states support limiting direct payments to single farmers to no more than $250,000.
  • Almost two-thirds of voters describe themselves as less likely to support a member of Congress who votes to cut jobs programs in rural communities, as well as environmental and nutritional programs.
  • In contrast, a majority of voters in each state describe themselves as "more likely" to support a member who supports limiting direct payments to single farmers to no more than $250,000, and at least a third describe themselves as "much more likely" to support such a member.

Discontent in the countryside

The survey found that 82% of Democrats and 27% of Republicans view that the direction of the country is on the wrong track. Of all respondents in Kansas, 46% believe it is on the wrong track, while 40% believe it is headed in the right direction.

Overall, 60% of Iowa and Minnesota respondents felt that this country has gotten seriously off on the wrong track.