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No Accountability for Million Dollar Crop Insurance Payments

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Today the Environmental Working Group releasednew analysis of 1 million+ government records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. We found that last year more than 10,000 farming operations have received federal crop insurance premium subsidies ranging from $100,000 to more than $1 million apiece. Some 26 farming operations received subsidies of $1 million or more last year.

“The eye-opening analysis shows crop insurance is not only very expensive, but also very, very generous to large and highly profitable farm businesses,” said Craig Cox, EWG senior vice president of agriculture and natural resources. “Now the public needs to know who they are.”

U.S. taxpayers pick up an average of about 62 percent of the crop insurance premiums for farm businesses. The public’s share of these premiums has soared from $1.5 billion in 2002 to $7.4 billion in 2011. The subsidies go to large operators with no conservation strings attached to protect water and soil, no means testing and no payment limit on how much a farm business can collect.

“Taxpayers don’t know who is getting our money,” said EWG president Ken Cook. “Why hasn’t Congress done its job and released the names for everyone to see, instead of serving the interests of the crop insurance lobby?”


Table Scraps:

-       The American Enterprise Institute is concerned that the new “shallow loss” revenue protection program in the Senate farm bill “could leave taxpayers in deep trouble.”

-       Progressive Farmer editor Chris Clayton looks at troubling groundwater depletion trends.

-       Agri-News reporter Janet Kubat Willette writes “For years, farmers said when commodity prices rose they would invest in conservation. Prices have risen to near historic levels and conservationists are waiting for their phones to start ringing. Instead, conservation is declining as farmers seek to work every possible acre.”

-       Food Democracy Now! founder Dave Murphy writes in the Huffington Post about “20 Years of GMO Policy That Keeps Americans in the Dark About Their Food”

-       The Bleeding Heartland blog looks at the impact agrichemical maker Syngenta’s settlement over the herbicide atrazine will have on Iowa water utilities.

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