Unlimited crop insurance subsidies now cost the taxpayer $9 billion a year and overwhelmingly flow to the largest and most successful farm businesses.
There were two reasons that Environmental Working Group commissioned agricultural economist Bruce Babcock of Iowa State University to analyze how the heavily subsidized federal crop insurance program performed during the Corn Belt drought of 2012. The 2012 drought drastically cut crop yields across several states and Congress is about to take up the farm bill again under serious pressure to cut spending.Read More
Federally subsidized crop insurance is now the most expensive program supporting farm income, so it’s no surprise that it will be at the center of the Senate Agriculture Committee’s deliberations on the 2013 farm bill, starting later this month. And as it happens, last year’s epic drought, which decimated crops across a wide swath of America, afforded a unique opportunity to assess the effectiveness of a program whose costs have ballooned to $9 billion a year, according to the Congressional Budget Office.Read More
Minnesota Congressman Colin Peterson (D-Minn.) struck a nerve this month when he said that “there is five times as much fraud” in the federal crop insurance program as there is the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program.Read More
In a recently posted blog titled Something’s Gotta Give, Marcia Zarley Taylor proves once again that she is one of the most cogent observers of crop insurance. Taylor is executive editor of the agriculture website DTN, and her post warns farmers that the once-sleepy crop insurance program is taking center stage as Congress starts over on the farm bill. She quickly explains why.Read More
House Speaker John Boehner made the right choice when he refused to include a trillion-dollar farm bill in legislation designed to avert the “fiscal cliff.”Read More
EWG’s Scott Faber joined representatives of several fiscally conservative organizations in calling on Congress not to slip a full farm bill reauthorization into any legislative package they cobble together to avoid the imminent “fiscal cliff.”Read More
Congressional leaders in search of a compromise to avert the “fiscal cliff” are under growing pressure from advocates for subsidized agriculture to attach a $1 trillion farm bill to legislation ostensibly designed to straighten out the nation’s finances.Read More
Democrats in Iowa tried hard to turn Congress’ failure to pass a federal farm bill into a political liability for their Republican opponents. It didn’t work.Read More
The following op-ed appeared in the Des Moines Register on Monday, November 12, 2012.
It’s too late for Congress to pass a good farm bill this year. The coming lame duck session of the 112th Congress will have its hands full dealing with the “fiscal cliff” and should focus on issues that simply cannot wait.
With high crop prices, high land prices and guaranteed business income thanks to federal crop insurance, farm businesses are doing very well, thank you very much. The Bloomberg news service reports that during this Great Recession, farm earnings in Iowa and across the U.S. increased eight times faster than non-farm wages from 2008 to 2011. Actually, farm businesses have been doing nicely even longer than that. Farm household income has exceeded average household income every year since 1996.Read More
With only five legislative weeks left, Congress must vote to extend the farm bill, but it must do it in a way that reflects the nation’s spending priorities, supports family farmers and protects the environment.Read More
If there was one message from yesterday’s voting, it’s that taxpayers – regardless of party – are worried about the nation’s economy and finances.Read More
By now, every American is familiar with Mitt Romney’s suggestion that 47 percent of Americans are “victims” who are “dependent” on government assistance.Read More
Speaker Boehner was right to put a fork – a pitchfork – in one of the worst pieces of farm and food legislation in decades.Read More
Tomorrow (Wed., Sept. 12), lobbyists for subsidized agriculture will hold a rally on Capitol Hill to urge Congress to pass a farm bill – any farm bill, even the terrible one produced by the House Agriculture Committee.Read More
High crop prices and unlimited crop insurance subsidies contributed to the loss of more than 23 million acres of grassland, shrub land and wetlands between 2008 and 2011, wiping out habitat that sustains many species of birds and other animals and threatening the diversity of North America’s wildlife, new research by Environmental Working Group and Defenders of Wildlife shows.Read More
The one-year extension of the farm bill likely to come up on the House floor this week would perpetuate funding for the worst aspects of American farm policy and would cut funding for the best.Read More