Every day, thousands of farmers take steps to reduce polluted runoff and restore wetlands and grasslands. Many more would help, but 40 percent of farmers have been turned away by the U.S. Department of Agriculture when they offer to share the cost of cleaner environment.
Dust storms have re-emerged across much of Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Texas, fueled by the same combination of persistent drought, plowing up fragile land and poor public policy that led to the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s.
Many counties where federal crop insurance subsidies rose between 2008 and 2012 also had an increase in poverty over that period, a finding that undermines the oft-repeated arguments that farm subsidies help reduce rural poverty, an Environmental Working Group analysis shows.
As the cost of crop insurance has ballooned – from less than $500 million a year in the 1990s to more than $14 billion in 2012 – the program’s most ardent defenders keep repeating the same mantra: Crop insurance is better than budget-busting ad hoc disaster programs.
Seven U.S. senators last week called for re-linking the federal crop insurance program to conservation compliance during a House-Senate conference committee meeting on the 2013 farm bill. The ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee also endorsed the linkage.
Check out the outrageous stats on their cards below to learn more about America’s Subsidy All Stars. And to see which ones are catching subsidies on a field near you, explore EWG’s map of subsidy millionaires the whopping 174 counties where these 26 All Stars have home field advantage.
Both the House and Senate overwhelmingly have voted for farm subsidy reform. The Senate twice voted to subject recipients of crop insurance subsidies to a modest means test, and the House passed a resolution supporting the same proposal. And polls show that Americans overwhelmingly support reasonable limits on farm subsidies. Even rural voters think too many subsidies go to big farmers.
Hundreds of millions of conservation dollars in the federal farm bill should be used more effectively to address widespread water pollution problems in California, concludes a new report by Environmental Working Group.
Last month, the National Wildlife Federation reported that more than 398,000 acres – 620 square miles – of grasslands, forests and other land were plowed, cleared or otherwise converted to grow crops over a 12-month period from 2011 to 2012.
Mark Lynas, maybe the most famous apologist for GMO foods ever, this week urged a gathering of food and biotech industry employees to stop battling the growing movement to label foods made with genetically engineered ingredients.
The Food and Drug Administration’s food inspectors have also been deemed non-essential – meaning that America’s food manufacturing plants will not be inspected until Congress decides to pass legislation to reopen the government.
A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released Tuesday (Oct. 8) found that of the $1.5 billion in farm subsidies doled out in 2012 to people who were supposedly “actively engaged” in farming, nearly half went to individuals who wouldn’t know how to steer a tractor or run a combine.