Top 10 Things You Should Know About The Farm Bill
by Sara Sciammacco
The Environmental Working Group knows that you care about the affordability and availability of healthy food and clean drinking water. So we wanted to make sure you know as much as you can about the massive piece of legislation that guides federal agriculture policy.
Congress rewrites the farm bill every five years or so. It drives federal spending for farm, nutrition and conservation programs and is the only important piece of environmental legislation that Congress is almost certain to enact over the next 18 months. In just a single year – 2010 – farm bill programs spent $96.3 billion. With so much on the table, here’s our list of the 10 most important things you should know about the farm bill:
1) The farm bill doles out billions of taxpayer dollars in subsidies to the largest five commodity crops: corn, cotton, rice, wheat and soybeans. Those payments go out, regardless of need, and they mostly fail to help the nation’s real working farm and ranch families. In fact, since 1995, just 10 percent of subsidized farms – the largest and wealthiest operations – have raked in 74 percent of all subsidy payments. 62 percent of farmers in the United States did not collect subsidy payments, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.