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Did Rep. Doug LaMalfa Receive Crop Insurance Subsidies?

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Last week, EWG reported that 32 members of Congress harvested at least $15.3 million in federal farm subsidies from taxpayers. We said “at least” because Congress has prohibited taxpayers from knowing which legislators receive crop insurance premium subsidies in addition to other farm subsidies. We did find that 31 of the 32 legislators who received subsidies grow crops that are eligible for crop insurance subsidies.

We were surprised when a spokesperson for Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Calif., issued this response:

“As public records show, under the new farm bill there have been no crop insurance payments for California rice and that’s the only crop that Congressman LaMalfa farms.”

So we checked the Department of Agriculture's records. Here’s what we found.

  • In 2015, California rice farmers bought more than 2,200 crop insurance policies and received more than $7 million in premium subsidy from the taxpayers. Those insurance policies provided farmers with more than $56 million in crop insurance indemnities.
  • In 2016, California rice farmers bought more than 2,100 crop insurance policies and received more than $9 million in premium subsidy from the taxpayers. Those insurance policies provided farmers with more than $3 million in crop insurance indemnities.

Perhaps LaMalfa grows “cultivated wild rice?” The same USDA records show that California farmers received premium subsidies for that crop as well.

Our best guess is that LaMalfa’s spokesperson was referring to traditional “commodity” subsidies tied to average farm revenues or crop prices. California rice farmers did not receive a payment through either of those subsidy programs in 2015 or 2016, but have received more than $2 billion in price supports and other traditional subsidies since 1995.

As a member of the House Agriculture Committee, LaMalfa famously advocated for a special deal for sushi rice farmers while voting to cut anti-hunger assistance by $40 billion. So far as we know, farms that Rep. LaMafa has ownership interest in have received at least $5.3 million in subsidies since 1995. How much crop insurance premium support has he received?

We would love to know. So would American taxpayers. 

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Photo by United States Congress, via Wikimedia Commons

 

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