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Farming

EWG works to build a farm and food system that makes people healthy, keeps working farm and ranch families on the land and improves the environment.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

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.

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AgMag
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Monday, August 2, 2010

The large, industrial growers of corn floated a trial balloon recently (July 20) in an attempt to justify continued taxpayer subsidies that have totaled $73.8 billion since 1995 for the ubiquitous crop. What stirred them up was that even hard-core subsidy defenders in Congress have begun talking about the need to give commodity subsidies a haircut in light of the worsening federal deficit.

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AgMag
Blog Post
Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The conflagration that embroiled the US Department of Agriculture last week (July 19) over the knee-jerk dismissal of an African American official who was falsely accused of reverse discrimination is only the latest travesty at an agency that has a notorious record on racial issues.

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AgMag
Blog Post
Monday, July 26, 2010

Hopes for comprehensive legislation to combat climate pollution evaporated Thursday (July 22) after months of wrangling in the Senate. In its place Senate leaders are proposing what is being billed as an “oil-spill only” bill with a few added energy provisions.

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AgMag
Blog Post
Thursday, July 15, 2010

WASHINGTON, DC - Rachel Carson ignited the debate over pesticide safety a generation ago. Its latest phase began today (July 15).

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News Release
Thursday, July 15, 2010

Over the past decade, organic produce sales have soared from 3 percent of the retail produce market in the U.S. in 2000 to nearly 11 percent last year, to $9.5 billion. According to surveys by the Organic Trade Association, organic produce’s precipitous trajectory barely slowed when the global financial crisis took hold in late 2008.

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AgMag
Blog Post
Wednesday, July 14, 2010

In an bid to garner support for legislation to address the looming danger of climate change, Midwest senators are reportedly pressing to attach a long-term extension of biofuel tax breaks to a Senate energy bill being crafted by Democratic leaders. The Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC), currently set to expire on Dec. 31, pays oil companies $0.45 per gallon in the form of tax credits to blend ethanol with gasoline.

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AgMag
Blog Post
Monday, July 12, 2010

Last week began with a front page story in the San Francisco Chronicle (July 5) detailing the links between increased fertilizer run-off due to corn ethanol production in the Mississippi River Basin to the swelling Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

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AgMag
Blog Post
Wednesday, July 7, 2010

On the first of the July, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a plan to put everyone who lives or works in the Chesapeake Bay watershed on a "rigorous pollution diet" intended to cut back on the quantities of nitrogen and phosphorus runoff that have turned large portions of the bay into oxygen-deprived "dead zones."

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AgMag
Blog Post
Friday, July 2, 2010

2010 won’t be all lemons for BP. Sure, the company will be best remembered for blowout preventers, top kill and Tony Hayward, but along the way the oil giant stands to make a killing from its investment in the US ethanol industry and the special tax breaks that come with it. In fact, the company could pull in well over half a billion dollars in ’10 alone, courtesy of the US taxpayer.

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AgMag
Blog Post
Monday, June 28, 2010

The  decades-old momentum behind federal farm subsidies delivered $13.4 billion to farmers in 2006, according to the latest update of the Environmental Working Group's Farm Subsidy Database website. Now including 2006 USDA data, the new website shows that from 1995 to 2006 or the past 12 years, taxpayers have sent over $177 billion in subsidies to farmers.

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AgMag
Blog Post
Saturday, June 26, 2010

Well, as we do each year, EWG released (on June 19) the latest Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce and as we suspected, eaters around the country are still concerned about high levels of toxic pesticide residue on their fruits and veggies.

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AgMag
Blog Post
Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Since the May release of the Environmental Working Group's update of its farm subsidy database, the media have paid a lot of attention to Tea Party candidates for Congress who paradoxically receive farm subsidies while railing against government spending.

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AgMag
Blog Post
Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Between 2005 and 2009, U.S. taxpayers spent a whopping $17 billion to subsidize corn-ethanol blends in gasoline. What did they get in return? A reduction in overall oil consumption equal to an unimpressive 1.1 mile-per-gallon increase in fleet-wide fuel economy. Worse, ethanol’s much ballyhooed contribution to reducing America’s dependence on imported oil looks even smaller – the equivalent to a measly six-tenths of a mile per gallon fleet-wide.

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AgMag
Blog Post
Monday, June 14, 2010

Between 2005 and 2009, U.S. taxpayers spent a whopping $17 billion to subsidize corn ethanol blends in gasoline. What did they get in return? A reduction in overall oil consumption equal to an unimpressive 1.1 mile-per-gallon increase in fleet-wide fuel economy.

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AgMag
Blog Post
Wednesday, June 9, 2010

In the month since EWG's 2010 update of our Farm Subsidy Database, subsidy recipients and program defenders have been reacting in interesting ways to the new data. Here's a roundup:

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AgMag
Blog Post
Thursday, June 3, 2010

Starting this week (June1) in Washington, DC, the National Corn Growers Association and its affiliated state associations are rolling out a $1 million ad campaign to boost corn's tarnished image. It’s targeted at lawmakers in the nation's capital, the people who control corn's fate in terms both of environmental regulation and the lavish and increasingly hard-to-justify federal subsidies for the ubiquitous crop, which have totaled $73.8 billion in taxpayer dollars since 1995.

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AgMag
Blog Post
Thursday, May 27, 2010

On April 23, the Environmental Working Group’s Rebecca Sutton, PhD, submitted a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency articulating EWG’s support for the Agency's proposed pollution controls. Her letter also urged the EPA to step up its efforts to combat one of the biggest threats to the bay — phosphorous and nitrogen runoff from agriculture — as it goes forward with regulatory and enforcement strategies.

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AgMag
Blog Post
Thursday, May 27, 2010

The 2008 farm bill included a new program to replace ad hoc disaster appropriations that have averaged $2 billion per year in recent years. The Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Program takes into account a farm’s revenue, crop insurance indemnities, and other income in order to assure a guaranteed revenue in the event of natural disasters.  The program was projected to cost taxpayers about $4 billion over five years.

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AgMag
Blog Post
Monday, May 24, 2010

There is increasing attention on the restriction of access to government records on taxpayer funded farm subsidies reported by the Environmental Working Group. 74 percent of payments administered by the US Department of Agriculture from 1995-2009 go to the top ten percent of the largest and wealthiest farm operations.

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