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AFFIRM Act Cuts Wasteful Insurance Subsidies, Increases Transparency

Contact: 
(202) 667-6982
ssciammacco@ewg.org
For Immediate Release: 
Wednesday, May 15, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Reps. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) and Tom Petri (R-Wis.) today introduced the Assisting Family Farmers through Insurance Reform Measures Act (AFFIRM), common sense legislation that will reform the heavily subsidized crop insurance system in order to level the playing field for family farmers, improve transparency for taxpayers and protect the environment for future generations.

Specifically, the AFFIRM Act would limit payments of crop insurance subsidies to $40,000 per person and eliminate subsidies for those with net farm income greater than $250,000 a year. Unlimited insurance subsidies now cost the taxpayer $9 billion a year and overwhelmingly flow to the largest and most successful farm businesses. Some farms annually collect more than $1 million in insurance subsidies, while the bottom 80 percent of policyholders collect only about $5,000 a year.

“Common sense crop insurance reforms will provide farmers a more equitable and fiscally responsible safety net,” said Scott Faber, EWG’s vice president for government affairs. “We applaud Reps. Kind and Petri for standing up for family farmers and taxpayers.”

The AFFIRM Act would also permit the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency to release information about crop insurance subsidies received by policyholders. Unlike traditional farm subsidies, insurance subsidies are not subject to payment limits, means testing, disclosure requirement or conservation requirements.

“Lawmakers have a real opportunity to make our food and farm system more transparent and fiscally-responsible so taxpayers will no longer be kept in the dark about where their tax dollars are going,” added Faber.

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