Farm income hit a record high in 2011, making the payments harder to justify.
President Barack Obama proposed slashing subsidies to the booming agriculture sector by $32 billion over the next decade, just as Congress begins the lengthy process of overhauling the expiring U.S. farm law.
For the third year running, Obama proposed sweeping cuts to USDA in his annual budget. Congress, however, has yet to come to an agreement on how to reform the massive subsidies to the sector.
Obama's plan includes eliminating the $5 billion/year in direct payment to farmers that is disbursed regardless of need, an idea that has some support among U.S. lawmakers.