This article demonstrates that the design and nature of agricultural support schemes has an influence on farmers' perception of their level of dependence on agricultural support. While direct aid payments inform farmers about the extent to which they are subsidised, indirect support mechanisms veil the level of subsidisation, and therefore they are not fully aware of the extent to which they are supported. To test this hypothesis, we applied data from a survey of 4,500 farmers in three countries: the United Kingdom, Germany and Portugal. It is demonstrated that indirect support, such as that provided through artificially +high consumer prices, gives an illusion of free and competitive markets among farmers. This 'visibility' hypothesis is evaluated against an alternative hypothesis that assumes farmers have complete, or at least a fairly comprehensive level of, information on agricultural support schemes. Our findings show that this alternative hypothesis can be ruled out.