Large Farms To Reap Subsidy Windfall
A controversial White House pledge to spend $1.5 billion to retroactively compensate farmers for 2009 crop losses -- and thereby boost the reelection prospects of Arkansas Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln -- will mean a six-figure windfall for hundreds of plantation-scale, highly subsidized rice and cotton farms across the South, a new Environmental Working Group analysis shows.
According to press accounts, Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) agreed to pull her controversial, $1.5 billion farm disaster aid package from legislation intended to help small business after she received assurances from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel that the USDA would provide the funds administratively.
Meanwhile, settlement payments for long standing discrimination cases brought against USDA by black and Native American farmers remain in limbo. Congress is also considering increased spending on subsidized school lunches for low-income kids by making massive, multi-billion-dollar cuts to conservation assistance or the food stamp program, while holding harmless the “direct payment” farm subsidy program funds that Sen. Lincoln’s plan would increase by over 20 percent.