The "plantation effect," is where family farms with less than 100 acres of land are being bought out by larger agribusinesses, which then convert them into tenant farms. To date, three-quarters of the nation's rice farms have already become tenant farms, and the ownership of other types of farms is beginning to trend in that same direction. Farm subsidies are generally seen as a "safety net" for poor farmers, but this is not the case.
A link between subsidies and the plantation effect is apparent. Subsidies make the rich get richer, while the poor can't compete. "Two-thirds of all farm subsidies go to the top 10 percent of subsidy recipients while the bottom 80 percent of recipients receive less than one-sixth of farm subsidies. A full 60 percent of America's farmers do not qualify for any assistance. In 2000 alone, more than 57,500 farms received subsidies totaling over $100,000, and subsidies of at least 154 farms topped $1 million. Among these beneficiaries are fifteen Fortune 500 companies, including Westvaco, Chevron, and John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance, which receive as much as 58 times as much as the median annual subsidy of $935." (Brian M. Riedl) Thus the poor farmers have to sell their land and then start working for the people that bought them. Tenant farmers.
Farm subsidies apply to people, not farms. The loophole is taken advantage of when corporations with lots of employees sign each person a subsidy. Whereas, small farms that don't have dense populations aiding them can not obtain as many subsidies if at all. This is why subsidies caused the plantation effect which results in concentrated farming.
"Far from saving America's family farms, the current farm subsidy system is destroying them.