In May 2005, the Commonwealth announced changes to the eligibility criteria for a number of farm welfare payments which have resulted in farmers receiving such payments on more generous terms than other disadvantaged groups in the community. The changes passed largely unremarked by the media or political commentators. Farm welfare programs are developed independently of the general welfare safety net and are based on assumptions about the nature, extent and causes of farm poverty. No comprehensive empirical research has been conducted into farm poverty since the Henderson Inquiry of the 1970s. This paper discusses the issue of farm poverty in Australia and how it fits into the broader welfare debate, and proposes a way forward to develop more effective and equitable farm welfare programs.