Insurance Subsidies Criticized

The Environmental Working Group, an environmental advocacy organization, recently released a report showing that massive amounts of federal crop insurance subsidies are going to a small fraction of farm owners.

While the Environmental Working Group’s primary focus in on environmental issues relating to toxic chemicals and corporate accountability, they have been increasingly vocal about agricultural subsidies, particularly in light of the ongoing farm bill debates. With politicians on both sides of the aisle questioning the utility of many federal subsides, the Environmental Working Group has played in increasingly prominent role in policy debates.

Their new report questions the usefulness of federal crop insurance subsides. Current policies shift the burden of crop insurance premiums away from farmers and onto the federal government, allowing individual producers to lower their operating costs.

The report examined the distribution of federal subsidies to the nation’s more than 480,000 policyholders. According to the EWG, the results show that the majority of subsidies are going to the nation’s wealthiest farmers, many of whom may not need the assistance.

Twenty-six farmers, for example, received subsidies of more than $1 million. 10,000 farmers received subsidies of more than $100,000. In Texas alone, the top ten percent of policyholders receive more than 60 percent of insurance subsidies.

The Farm Bureau, however, countered the EWG report, claiming that farmers rely on crop insurance, particularly in light of the upcoming elimination of direct payment subsidies.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer