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Abstract

With government farm payments making up close to half of net farm income (and nearly 100 percent in some states), the focus on how the subsidies are to be reported has taken on added importance. The problem is complicated by three features—(1) farmers can elect to have Commodity Credit Corporation loans (which is the vehicle for two of the three ways program benefits are delivered to farmers and landowners) treated as loans or as income; (2) the subsidies are delivered to eligible participants in three distinctly different systems of payments; and (3) dollar limitations on payments have been imposed by the Congress although in recent years Congress has provided a way to avoid the payment limitations. The latter involves the use of a special statute-based procedure which involves what are known as commodity certificates. The evidence indicates that the principal use of commodity certificates is for cotton and rice with a modest use for soybeans. Relatively little use of commodity certificates has been observed for corn and wheat.

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