San Luis Obispo farm subsidy leaders

June 21, 2011


The Republican-dominated House voted against cutting farm subsidies for the wealthy while agreeing to slash domestic and international food aid on Thursday.

The bill to cut Agriculture Department and Food and Drug Administration spending by 13 percent for the budget year that starts Oct. 1, raised concerns that the farm subsidy program in some cases is akin to welfare for the wealthy.

Landowners are restricted from receiving farm subsidies if they make more than $1.25 million per year individually. The House rejected a bill to tighten the eligibility requirements to $250,000 a year in adjusted gross income by a vote of 228-186.

Proponents of the bill, slated to cut $167 million from the $20 billion spent per year on farm subsidies, argued someone who makes $250,000 doesn’t need farm subsidies.

Farm subsidies date back to the economic turmoil of the Great Depression. In order to raise the price of food and livestock so that farmers could continue farming, farmers let parts of their fields go fallow and killed off some of their livestock.

Currently, direct payment subsidies are given without regard to the financial needs of the recipients or the condition of the farm economy.

Even so, farm subsidies protect farmers from losing their businesses during catastrophes.

In California, only 9.2 percent of farmers and ranchers collect farm subsidies. Of those, 10 percent are paid 68 percent of subsidy monies.

In San Luis Obispo County, 364 ranch and farm owners received farm subsides from $210,710 to $3 in 2009. The lower 80 percent of recipients over the past 15 years receive an average of $718 per year.

CalCoastNews is providing some of the top subsidy earners in San Luis Obispo County in 2009 and over the past 15 years as reported on the Farm Subsidy Data Base report.

Over the past 15 years, the White Ranch Company in Shandon received $3.3 million in subsidy payments. Next in line, Lacey Livestock, was paid approximately $1.9 million in subsides.

The top earners in 2009 include Robert and Diane Morrison of Santa Margarita with $168,856 in government subsidy payments, Maria and Servando Eguiluz of Arroyo Grande received $103,062, Michael Strouss of Paso Robles received $89,600, Santa Margarita Ranch LLC was paid $66,334, Ron and Jen Skinner of Santa Margarita were paid $65,523 and Wolff Vineyards LLC was paid $58,729, according to a Farm Subsidy Data Base report.

In San Luis Obispo County, several large families own numerous properties that receive yearly payments for not growing crops or running cattle. Some opponents of subsides contend generations of families regularly receive subsidies while only growing or ranching periodically in order to keep up on subsidy requirements.

The top subsidy payee in the county is the LY7 Company in Santa Margarita at $210,710 in 2009. According to the report the LY7 Company is owned by nine members of the Twisselman family and several other shareholders.

In total, 22 members of the Twisselman family own about a dozen local properties for which they receive subsidies.

In a cultural resources assessment done by the California Valley Solar Ranch Project, Darrell Twisselman explains that periodically he grows crops so that he can maintain requirements to continue receiving farm subsidy payments.

“As irrigated valley land to the east started farming more grain, the price fell, and farming tapered off in the Carrizo Plain in the 1960s,” Twisselman says in the assessment. “Various government programs would pay the farmers to not plant, and much of the land went back to grazing with periodic crops to maintain the ‘farming’ use for subsidy purposes.”

Fifteen members of the Kuhnle family own several San Luis Obispo County properties they get paid not to grow including Kuhnle and Sons at $128,795, KW Ranch at $70,572 and Kuhnle Property Trust for $55,854, the report says.

Meanwhile, the House voted 217-203 to balance the budget by making $868 million in cuts to the Woman, Infant and Children program which provides food aid and educational support to low-income mothers and their children.

Additionally, the spending bill cuts $450 million from international emergency aid and food assistance programs.

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We all see the problem…..some like it, how sad is that? We vote these folks in that promise to reform and then take office and, it seems to me, get on the dole. Then they if they do change anything, it is for the worse, as those paying them to keep it bad, want it even more now that they have to pay more. What can we do about it???? We usually ignore our power of impeachment….unless of course it is a sex scandal, then we all pay attention and won’t have that! We need to hold all of our politicians accountable for what we have hired them to do. If we continue to let them have their way with us, it is only our problem and their gain. To continue to do the same things and expect a different outcome is insane! Let’s stop the insanity…..hold the politicians accountable, if they lie and turn on us, take ’em out! That is the power of the people!

I have had a mixed reaction to subsides. I think the original idea was to make sure we had the agricultural infustructure in place so we never were growing just enough food for the market to bare. So there would be an abundance of preexisting ag land that could compensate for another “Dust Bowl” type event. I think instead of just handing the money out for doing nothing, the government should start a stratigic grain reserve. There are many grains and legumes that if stored correctly have a 30-40 year shelf life. With a dispersed countrywide setup, this would compliment such things as the strategic oil reserve. Not having all our food both grown and stored in the same areas. We could then cycle out the reserves in a both domestic and forigen aid alotments as needed or dependign on surpluses. Since the subsidays already exist we might as well take the insurance of an ag land reserve and add a food reserve to the process. That way the land stays un developed, jobs are created and americans arent in a position to go hungry.

I think SanSimeonSam’s comment at the bottom of this blog makes a most EXCELLENT point!

Santa Margarita Ranch? hard working wives…Off the EWG subsidy website

Rank Name Location Subsidy Total


There are so many wives listed in this county reaoing subsidies-Do they really farm?

1 Kathy Filipponi Creston, CA 93432 $ 295,231.3p

I would love to know which of the farmers in Santa Barbara Co. are receiving subsidies and how much. I was glad that that the name Hayashi didn’t come up which only goes to show that not all farmers are receiving this type of welfare.

this is nothing but AGRICULTURE WELFARE. Oh might want to throw in political paybacks. It would be interesting what these POOR people contributed to their home grown politicians.

This really sucks when you have homeless people starving that government is unable to assist but then on the other hand they can pay people NOT to grow food.

All government welfare is sucks, and only destroys lives in the end. Always has.

No r0y, it only sucks when we’re not giving it to people that truly need it. If a sick child/mother/disabled etc. truly needs care then morally I have no problem pitching in to help those people and that’s the kind of country we should be. We should help those that less fortunate than we are, we should push our way to the top riding on thier backs.

The problem is that we are a country of extremes. We don’t just help those that need it. We in some cases help those that just take advantage of us and that includes the wealthy and the poor.

Excellent post, Typo! Not a single mention of the government helping, you had all the correct pronouns: I and we. Not “the government” – I could not have said it better, so why continue to support any type of welfare, as confiscated and re-distributed by the government?

You said, “I have no problem pitching in to help…” – precisely. Neither do I. And I do not need the government to get in the way.

Sadly, you’re right.

Santa Margarita Ranch LLC received payments totaling $224,141 from 1995 through 2009

Year Conservation Subsidies Disaster Subsidies Commodity Subsidies Total USDA Subsidies


1995 $0 $0 $0 $0

1996 $0 $0 $0 $0

1997 $0 $0 $0 $0

1998 $0 $0 $0 $0

1999 $0 $0 $0 $0

2000 $0 $0 $0 $0

2001 $0 $0 $0 $0

2002 $0 $0 $0 $0

2003 $0 $0 $0 $0

2004 $8,138 $0 $10,373 $18,511

2005 $8,000 $40,110 $2,028 $50,138

2006 $0 $0 $1,480 $1,480

2007 $13,605 $0 $8,882 $22,487

2008 $119,683 $0 $11,842 $131,525

2009 $0 $0 $0 $0

Total $149,426 $40,110 $34,605


Crop Summary for Santa Margarita Ranch LLC

Just curious. Weren’t those the years of the big construction boon.Just going further into a possible hypothesis re; water. After 2001 all of Ca. was drunk on growth an water was the new currency.

Just curious; Could subsidie,s for not growing Ag. have anything to do with more water availability to use or sell elsewhere.Sort of a water balance[ barter ] around the state.Thus making development possible in area,s that would generate more tax revenue . So, therefore the need to perpetuate the subsidies would have to continue, Especially if the original intent had been exploited to generate revenue and specific areas benifited. Then it would make sense that the largest land holder’s would be the recipents of the subsidies. The larger the land holding, the larger amount of water for development elsewhere.If the subsidies were to be cut off , how many citie’s would have the water shut off. Just askin.

I can’t help myself in looking at this in a political light; any bets whether or not the mentioned parties above are registered Republicans or Democrats? I guess that it really shouldn’t matter, but the hypocrisy of those who clamor for less government, reducing government spending, cutting programs always seem somehow to benefit from government programs and/or government spending. “Welfare for the rich” IS the appropriate label for most farm subsidies recipients.

I highly doubt that farmers on subsidy are for less government. No, like most liberals and “neo cons” they just want THEIR government programs.

I personally am VERY conservative when it comes to spending. I do not want the government to pay farmers not to plant, nor do I want our government to pay foreign countries anything. I do not want the government to give food or assistance to women, infants and children. In fact, I’d like the government to get the hell out of everyone’s lives and let us be human: both good and bad.

I’m betting there’s enough “bleeding heart” types to personally assist and help those in need around them when they can. I know I do, even while being over-taxed by the government. I continue to personally witness, every year, the direct generosity of people helping people with no government involvement, and basically no overhead/administrative costs. It’s incredible how far just $10, $25, or even $50 a month (or year!) can go in some parts of the world.

Even right here in SLO county, one would be amazed how much help one can give their neighbors, especially without government intervention.

I am fiscally conservative so I can be socially liberal. I do not wish to be politically liberal, as that almost never helps true liberally social assistance. Paint me a tea bagger, libertarian nut-job, but I’d just say it’s time to put down the paint brushes and get serious.

Okay r0y the tea bagger libertarian nut-job (JK, you asked for it), I feel that you are wrong. No Doubt about it bob is right. This is typical welfare for the wealthy. Just as they don’t pay taxes they get subsidies and it’s not just the farmers. It’s also the wealthy oil companies. I just don’t get how you cons don’t see this, they are ripping us off. In this country the wealthy get away with highway robbery and our economy is going in the tanke because of it. I have yet to see a farmer (and I don’t mean a guy that plants a few peach trees) that isn’t a political conservative. Just read the COLAB website, this is exactly the kind of thing that they would typically support, conservative wealthy farmers is what COLAB is made of.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for these farmers having their farms and making a good profit and even in some cases having less regulation but these subsidies are over the top. These farmers would still be wealthy without these govt. handouts.

Oil companies do not get subsidies. There are all kinds of goofy tax credits/deductions, but everything and everyone has those. No subsidies. Oil companies are not paid NOT to produce.

those contracts for the Iraq field were stolen fair and square!

Any acolytes of trickle-down economics notice any of these Ag powerhouses posting help-wanted ads in the paper? Didn’t think so.

I believe that this was a bipartisan bill when introduced. Not that it means anything any more. We have all been bipartisanly sold down the river. Any way you slice it.

“I’ve gotten down to my last pair of shoes

Can’t even win a nickel bet

Because, ah them that’s got are them that gets

And I ain’t got nothin yet. . .”

-Ray Charles

“You’re going to Sodom and Gomorrah

But what do you care ? Ain’t nobody there would want marry your sister”

_Bob Dylan

No farmer worth his dirt would rather not grow then grow.. But when the Gov.creates so many restrictions,and munipulates the mkt. by allowing imports to flood the playingfield. Subsidies are only a default .Those countrys that our Gov. is trying to give an economic boost to do not pay import fee’s or are not handicapped with all the restrictions.If our farmers were allowed to grow an our gov. bought that food an gave it to our poor.Then no need for subsidies, savings on welfare and taxpayers that are being taxed to shoulder that cost.The thousands of container ships and trucks that flood our borders daily would have to feed their own people and our Gov. would have to quit curring fovors at the expense of our economy and taxpayer dollars.

When the history of the world is finally written, farm subsidies will be a chapter within the Stupid History section. It doent make sense. We pay tax dollars to farmers not to grow food while we pay out money to the underprivileged for food stamps and send $$$$ overseas to starving countries to help them…..wait for it…….grow food to feed their people…..many of whom are later trained to hate us. Let the farmers grow the food and have the government use the subsidy money to buy the food and use the foreign aid money to ship the food to overseas destinations AFTER we have fed our own citizens.

If you decide to run for President, you have my vote!

I still Like Ike! [:The political processes of our country are such that if a rule of reason is not applied in this effort, we will lose everything–even to a possible and drastic change in the Constitution. This is what I mean by my constant insistence upon “moderation” in government. Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.]

Ike didn’t know about “The Guns of November