Members of Congress Received $238K in Farm Subsidies
WASHINGTON --- Environmental Working Group¹s 2013 update of its Farm Subsidy Database shows that 15 members of Congress or their spouses benefitted from a total of $237,921 in taxpayer-funded farm subsidy payments last year.
EWG¹s compilation of farm subsidies has been searched nearly 440 million times since 2004 and is widely credited for advancing efforts to reform farm subsidies.
The farm subsidy database tracks $256 billion in farm income support through commodity, crop insurance, and disaster programs and $39 billion in conservation support paid to farmers and landowners from 1995 through 2012. However, EWG is prohibited by federal law from reporting crop insurance subsidies, which now comprise two-thirds of the farm safety net.
"EWG and the taxpayers footing the bill cannot know which farmers, including which members of Congress, receive subsidies to buy crop insurance," said Craig Cox, EWG¹s Senior Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources. "We do know that in 2011, 26 policyholders received more than $1 million apiece in crop insurance premium support in 2011, and that more than 10,000 policyholders received more than $100,000 each. U.S. Department of Agriculture has refused to provide us with the same information for 2012."
Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) have filed an amendment to the Senate farm bill to allow the USDA to disclose which farmers receive crop insurance subsidies. Traditional farm and conservation programs limit the amount of money an individual or business can receive from the government. There are no such limits on crop insurance subsidies.
According to EWG's analysis of data derived from USDA records, members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate who received farm subsidies in 2012 were:
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Rep. Robert Aderholt's (R-Ala.) wife, Caroline Aderholt, is a 6.3 percent owner of McDonald Farms according to 2008 ownership records. McDonald Farms received $66,891 in direct payment farm subsidies in 2012. She also personally received a $345 direct payment in 2012. EWG’s estimate of 2012 farm subsidies to Caroline Aderholt, using the percentage share information received from USDA, comes to $4,559. Caroline Aderholt’s total estimated amount of subsidies – directly and through McDonald Farms – is $207,426 from 1995-2012.
Rep. Kristi Noem (R- S.D.) received $1,400 in direct payments in 2012. Through 2008, USDA listed Rep. Noem as a 16.9% partner in Racota Valley Ranch. The estimated amount of subsidies attributed to Rep. Noem from 1995-2012 is $503,751.
Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Calf.) and his wife Jill LaMalfa are each 16.67% partners (combined share totals 33.33%) of DSL Lamalfa Family Partnership, which received $188,570 in direct payments for 2012. Direct payments were the only payments received in 2012. The 2012 subsidy amount EWG estimates to Rep LaMalfa and his wife is $62,857. The estimated amount of subsidies from 1995-2012 from DSL LaMalfa Family Partnership total $1,710,385.
Rep. Frank Lucas' (R-Okla.) wife Lynda Lucas received $14,584 in disaster payments in 2012. Her total subsidy payments since 1999 are $40,613.
In 2008, Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.) and his wife Terra Valadao had a combined ownership share of 33.4% of Triple V Dairy. Triple V Dairy received $22,453 in payments in 2012 for direct payments and MILC. The most recent ownership information from 2011, does not list Terra but also does not list the ownership percentages. Assuming the wife's ownership percentage was added to David's – the EWG estimate of the amount of subsidies to Rep Valadao from Triple V Dairy in 2012 is $7,484. Valadao Dairy received $82,373 in payments in 2012 for direct payments and MILC. The ownership information EWG received for Valadao Dairy is from 2011 and ownership percentage information is not available. However, there are 4 owners of Valadao Dairy and assuming equal shares, the EWG estimate of the benefit to David Valadao is $20,593. The total EWG estimate of subsidy benefits in 2012 to Rep. Valadao is $28,077. The estimated subsidy amount attributed to Rep. Valadao from Triple V Dairy and Valadao Dairy from 2005-2012 is $185,724
Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.) and his wife Lynn Fincher are each 50 percent partners in Stephen & Lynn Fincher Farms. They received a $70,574 direct payment farm subsidy in 2012. The Finchers have received $3,483,824 in farm subsidies since 1999.
Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) is listed in the Farm Subsidy Database, but no subsidies were directly paid to her. A trust named Lowell and Viky Hartzler Family Revocable Trust is listed as a 98 percent owner of Hartzler Farms, which received $697 in direct payment/ACRE and $686 for the Conservation Reserve Program for a total of $1,383 in 2012. Hartlzer Farms has received $822,151 in farm subsidies since 1995. The Hartzler’s estimated subsidies from 1995-2012 are $516,000.
Rep. John Kline's (R-Minn.) wife, Vicky Sheldon Kline, is listed as a 20 percent owner of Sheldon Family Farms LP, which received a $3,025 conservation reserve program payment in 2012. EWG’s estimate of the conservation reserve program payments Ms. Kline received, based on the percentage share information supplied to USDA, is $605 for 2012. The estimated amount of subsidies received by Rep. Kline’s wife from 2000-2012 is $6,548.
Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) received a 2012 direct payment of $339. Rep Nuegebauer has received $670 since 2011. Rep. Neugebauer also had interests in two different farming businesses from 1998-2003. His estimated subsidies using the percentage share from USDA for those two businesses are $3,651, which brings his total subsidies to $4,321.
Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.) received a 2012 direct payment of $6,654. Rep Stutzman has received $196,268 in farm subsidies since 1997.
Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) is a one-third owner of Thornberry Brothers, which received a $5,103 direct payment and $4,078 in disaster aid payments in 2012. EWG’s estimate of the farm subsidy benefits Thornberry received, based on the percentage share information provided to USDA, is $3,060 in 2012. His estimated total subsidies from 1995-2012 is $29,774
Sen. Michael Bennet's (D-Colo.) wife, Susan Daggett, is listed in his 2010 financial disclosure forms as 5.5 percent owner of Daggett Farms LP and LMD Farms LP. Daggett Farms LP received $17,312 in direct payments in 2012 while LMD Farms LP received $21,007 in direct payments in 2012. EWG’s estimate of farm subsidy benefits Daggett received, based on the percentage share information provided from financial disclosure forms, was $2,107 in 2012. The total subsidy amount for Ms. Daggett is $22,789 from 1995-2012.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) received $8,207 in direct payments and $1,728 in conservation reserve payments for a total of $9,935 in 2012. Senator Grassley has received $327,246 in farm subsidies since 1995.
Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) personally received $2,982 in direct payments and $6,113 in conservation reserve program payments in 2012. Testers’ wife, Sharla, is listed as a 50 percent owner of T-Bone Farms – Tester is listed as owning the other 50 percent. T-Bone farms received $12,186 in direct payments in 2012. The Tester’s total subsidies for 2012 were $21,281. Their total from 1995-2012 is $505,536
EWG’s estimate of the farm subsidies and conservation payments Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and his wife. Elaine Hatch, received is based on the share information provided in financial disclosure forms regarding Ms. Hatch’s share of Edries N Hansen Properties LLC which received $2,530 in direct payments and $50,000 in conservation reserve program payments in 2012 is $10,506. The estimated amount of subsidies to Ms. Hatch from 1995-2012 is $49,722.