Environmental Working Group now requesting reduction in growers’ subsidies from Congress.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG), an organization based in Washington, has performed an analysis that has shown that just over 24 U.S. farm operations received more than $1 million in crop insurance premiums payments – each – in 2011, and it has now made a call to Congress to decrease those growers’ subsidies.
Policyholders numbering over 100,000 received at least $100,000 each in insurance premium subsidies.
The EWG explained in a statement that its calculations were based on records that it received in a request they made through the Freedom of Information Act. Within it, they received information regarding the number of growers and the payments they received, though the U.S. Department of Agriculture was banned by Congress from disclosing the actual names of the policyholders.
According to the vice president of agriculture and natural resources at the EWG, Craig Cox, who released the statement, “The eye-opening analysis shows crop insurance is not only very expensive, but also very, very generous to large and highly profitable businesses.” He added that “Now the public needs to know who they are.”
In May, the Senate Agriculture Committee gave its approval to a 5-year farm bill that would provide an additional form of crop insurance to help to compensate growers that will be experiencing other forms of subsidy reductions. This type of coverage is the main support that the government provides to farm operators. In 2011, $7.4 billion in taxpayer dollars went to lowering the premiums paid by farmers. This was more than four times the amount from 2002, which was $1.5 billion.
The latest crop insurance bill, which has been seen as a repeat of those put into place every five years, is being called a new way to disguise inequities that have always existed, by those opposing it. They are claiming that it is nothing more than a new way to send taxpayer dollars to wealthy farmers and to speed up the rate at which industrial farming is expanding, which is further inflating the price of land and shrinking the population of rural areas in the country.