House Narrowly Defeats Farm Bill Amendment to Strengthen Crop Insurance, Reduce Taxpayer Costs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives today narrowly defeated a meaningful reform amendment to the federal farm bill that would have strengthened the crop insurance program by making costly subsidies less fiscally irresponsible and more transparent, Environmental Working Group said in a statement.

Scott Faber, EWG’s senior vice president of government affairs, said:

This common-sense reform amendment, introduced by Wisconsin Reps. Ron Kind and Tom Petri, would have leveled the playing field for family farmers and increased transparency for taxpayers. Specifically, it would have limited crop insurance subsidies to $50,000 per farmer and eliminated subsidies for those with net farm income greater than $250,000 a year.

Crop insurance is the only farm income support program that is not subject to some form of payment limitation or means testing. And unlike traditional farm subsidies, insurance subsidies are not subject to disclosure requirements.

Unlimited insurance subsidies now cost taxpayers $9 billion a year and overwhelmingly flow to the largest and most successful farm businesses. Some farms collect more than $1 million a year in insurance subsidies, while the bottom 80 percent of policyholders collect only about $5,000 a year.

Net farm income, farm equity and farm household income are at record levels. There is no better time than now to ask highly profitable and financially secure farmers to pay a bit more for their crop insurance policies.

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