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More Scorn for Senate Farm Bill

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Bloomberg News editorial board published a humdinger of an editorial today criticizing the Senate Agriculture committee’s farm bill. An excerpt:

In place of fixed payments the committee added a new subsidy in the form of expanded crop insurance. Why this was needed is hard to fathom, because existing crop-insurance programs will cost taxpayers as much as $90 billion in the coming decade, according to the Congressional Research Service.

What makes this new benefit so troubling is that it might even be more expensive than the fixed payments. It certainly can’t be justified based on the health of the farm economy. Farm net income last year reached a record $98 billion, mostly because prices for commodity crops such as corn and soybeans were near record highs.

It also points out that Environmental Working Group’s call for a free insurance policy that would “cover 70 percent of a farmer’s crop and eliminate the inefficiencies of multiple private insurers might save as much as $18.5 billion during the next 10 years.”

Table Scraps:

Clean Energy reports House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is crafting an alternative bill to the E15 liability measure recently introduced by Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.).

The Village Farmers Market Association, a California group “dedicated to fostering a locally-based food system,” says crop insurance and farm subsidies “have been driven off course of their intended goal by greed, mismanagement, and backdoor deals.”

Tweet of the Day:

@GrowinCities Very well written RT @EWGFoodNews 'Healthy food' bill should replace #farmbill via @sfgate

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