Farm Payment Database Released

Environmental Working Group updates information on subsidies, points out urban absentees still getting plenty of cash.

Published on: Jun 24, 2011

The giant database of individual farm payments built and hosted by the Environmental Working Group has been updated online at farm.ewg.org and the group claims there has been little change in the amount of money going to urban, absentee landowners since reforms were built into the 2008 Farm Bill.

Released Thursday, the report tracks the subsidies paid between 1995 and 2010. The database first appeared in 2004 and the organization claims more than 300 million searches since it was launched. The organization has long been an opponent of payments to landowners and in this latest data set the group points to payment trends.

EWG says the "actively engaged" rule adopted in the 2008 bill didn't stop 7,767 residents of five Texas cities - Lubbock, Amarillo, Austin, San Angelo and Corpus Christi - collected more than $61 million in subsidies. Lubbock rises to the top of sitites with 100,000-plus populations with $24,839 paid in 154 payments.

In its press statement announcing the new list, EWG notes several other cities receiving payments. In Spokane, Wash., 1,224 residents cashed $10,580,181 in farm subsidy checks. In New York City, 290 farm subsidy recipients pulled in a total of $800,887, while 203 residents of Miami got $2,472,071. In San Francisco, 179 residents split $1,094,172, while 1,235 residents of Memphis got $4,009,874 and 1,146 people in Denver received $3,394,550. In Arizona, 1,205 residents of Phoenix, Mesa and Scottsdale divvied up $8,173,269 in payments.

The group also notes that the largest farm operations continue to receive the majority of payments. Just 10% of subsidized farms collected 75% of payments. They note the average payment over the 16 years of data gathered (1995 to 2010) the average per recipient has been $447,873.

The group also details crop insurance payments as part of their effort. Check that out at Crop Insurance.

As the 2012 Farm Bill debate heats up this data set will be part of the debate.