When U.S. Department of Agriculture’s annual spending bill comes up for action again in the House and Senate next month, Congress may finally get a chance to rein in unlimited, secret subsidies to some of the nation’s largest farm businesses.
The farm bill that passed the House this week and will likely pass the Senate next week has some positive features, including new conservation requirements for farm businesses that collect crop insurance subsidies and more funding for local and organic farmers. But those important provisions are outweighed by new, expanded and largely unlimited subsidies that do too much to help the largest and most successful farm operations at the expense of family farmers and the environment.
EWG’s editors asked the entire staff to pick the top agriculture-related stories of 2013, a category that includes the farm bill, farm subsidies, crop insurance, conservation, genetically engineered crops and food and several other related topics.
If the crop insurance proposals in the 2013 farm bill, including STAX, are enacted and their costs are as high as some expect, the United States could be in serious jeopardy of violating WTO trade commitments once again.
There has long been bipartisan support for conservation compliance by farmers and politicians alike. Now more than ever, those leading the way in reauthorizing the farm bill may hear a growing number of prominent Republicans voicing their support to relink to crop insurance the vital conservation compact between taxpayers and farmers.
EWG’s latest analysis of billionaires who reaped federal farm dollars seems to have hit a nerve with folks who – unsurprisingly – benefit from these same government handouts.
Reducing subsidies to large farm businesses, crop insurance companies and their agents, and trimming their windfall profits could generate enormous savings, EWG has found.
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.
“Subsidy millionaires” are not your typical family farmers. They are individuals who each year collect more than $1 million each in crop insurance subsidies from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Doesn’t it make sense to subject some of the richest farmers to a means test when they seek federal subsidies to pay for their crop insurance?
An interactive map developed by the Environmental Working Group shows where more than 660 U.S. newspapers have published editorials since 2007 demanding meaningful reform of the federal farm bill.