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Farm Bill Proposal Increases Subsidies for Big Farmers

Retains important conservation compliance provision, requires means testing
Contact: 
(202) 667-6982
ssciammacco@ewg.org
For Immediate Release: 
Thursday, May 9, 2013

Washington, D.C. – The farm bill draft released today by the Senate Agriculture Committee contains the same flawed provisions as the 2012 Senate-passed bill: if enacted as written, it would increase unlimited crop insurance subsidies to the largest and most successful farm businesses. Moreover, the proposal takes an unwelcome step toward the House Agriculture Committee bill by including new price guarantees for major commodity crops.

EWG's Senior Vice President of Agriculture and Natural Resources Craig Cox issued this statement:

The proposed farm bill draft does hold some welcome provisions. The discredited direct payment program would finally come to an end.  And it does retain the important conservation compliance provision that would require farmers who receive crop insurance premium subsidies to carry out basic environmental protections on their farms. Finally, the proposal would require means testing for producers who receive insurance subsidies.

On balance, however, the draft falls short of the far-reaching reform needed that Congress should consider.

While it includes the all-important conservation compliance provision, spending more on insurance and crop subsidies that are already lavish means that conservation and nutrition programs would be needlessly cut to hit deficit reduction targets. We need a farm bill that provides a fiscally responsible safety net and makes critical investments in programs that protect public health and the environment. Overall this new proposal takes us in the wrong direction.

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