EWG: Senate Farm Bill Far Better Than House Proposal, But Fails to Rein in Farm Subsidies
WASHINGTON – Scott Faber, vice president of government affairs for the Environmental Working Group, issued the following statement today on the full Senate’s passage of its version of the farm bill.
Although the bipartisan farm bill approved by the Senate comes in sharp contrast to the House’s terrible, partisan farm bill, the Senate bill does too little to rein in farm subsidies.
Unlike the partisan House bill, the bipartisan Senate bill preserves funding for anti-hunger, conservation and energy programs. It also provides new mandatory funding for programs that link farmers with local consumers and support organic farmers. Although more conservation spending is needed to address the health impacts of farm pollution, the Senate bill includes important reforms that will better target and leverage conservation programs to protect drinking water sources.
In addition, the Senate bill, unlike the House bill, does not create new loopholes that would allow farm subsidies to flow to billionaires or distant relatives of farmers. However, the Senate bill does not go nearly far enough to rein in farm subsidy programs. Although the Senate bill modestly tightens an existing means test for some subsidies and limits the number of city slickers who can receive subsidies, the bill does nothing to cap or provide a means test for unlimited crop insurance subsidies, or rein in subsidies to insurance agents and companies.