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AgMag BLOG

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President Obama Makes Another Run at Wasteful Farm Subsidies

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Yesterday (Sept 19), president Obama unveiled his plan to cut the federal budget. Part of that plan entails cuts to lavish farm subsidies paid out to mega-farms regardless of need, and cuts to the bloated and taxpayer subsidized crop insurance program. Ken Cook, president and co-founder of the Environmental Working Group, applauded President Obama’s plan to reform the nation’s wasteful agriculture policy in his drive to reduce the nation’s debt.

Environmental Working Group has been raising objections to automatic farm payments regardless of crop prices for nearly two decades,” said Cook. “We are encouraged to see the tide turning in favor of investments in agriculture that are smarter for farmers and the environment and fairer to taxpayers who have been padding the bank accounts of profitable agribusiness operators for years.

Last week (Sept 12) Cook sent a letter to the Congressional super committee urging its members to take similar steps outlined yesterday by President Obama.

Cutting out this wasteful spending will help bring down the deficit while protecting other priorities,” wrote Cook. “Direct payments that go out regardless of market conditions or actual land use must be eliminated, or at least targeted only to farmers who demonstrate a clear financial need....and new limits should be applied to crop and revenue insurance, and administrative support for private insurance companies should be cut further.

And while direct payments have been the traditional poster child for unneeded agriculture spending, the taxpayer's burden with crop insurance has been growing year by year. In an analysis posted September 13, EWG senior vice president Craig Cox debunked recent complaints from the farm subsidy lobby that crop insurance cuts will hurt farmers.

For further reading on farm subsidies and the farm bill, check out the recent EWG posts, 9 Farm Subsidy Myths and Why the Farm Bill Matters.

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