What’s Driving Corporate Ag?
In April, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report, Crop Insurance: Savings Would Result from Program Changes and Greater Use of Data Mining, which recommends Congress better target federal crop insurance subsidies to smaller family farms and ranches.
It holds ample evidence that unlimited crop insurance subsidies are crucial to the continued growth of mega farms. For example, if one corporation farmed the entire state of, say, Michigan, USDA would be obligated to pay 60 percent of its crop insurance premiums on every acre, every year.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates a cost to taxpayers of $9 billion/year for the next 10 years in subsidies and administration. Crop insurance subsidy costs have doubled in the last five years. They are four times their cost 10 years ago. In 2011 they totaled $7.5 billion, more than any other farm program.
It’s not just about the money. The report also makes the connection between large, corporate farms and unlimited crop insurance subsidies. It shows that 53 farms benefited from insurance premiums in excess of $500,000 in 2011. One farm with land that spans eight counties and grows corn, beans, canola, sugar beets, potatoes and wheat received $1.2 million in premium subsidies. Taxpayers also made another $499,000 in payments to crop insurance companies to deliver that operation’s insurance.
These subsides simply help the nation’s largest farms drive smaller operations out of business.
Contact us to find out what you can do to ensure that federal farm, conservation, and insurance subsidies should be targeted to family farms and ranches instead of subsidizing the growth of nation’s largest corporate farms.
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