June 1, 2012
On Thursday, May 31, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) published a report detailing crop insurance subsidies by state. The information, gained through a Freedom of Information Act request, is the largest disclosure of federal crop insurance subsidies to date, and the study examines over 686,000 policies held by over 486,000 farming operations.
EWG found that more than 10,000 individual farming operations received federal crop insurance premium subsidies over $100,000, and 26 operations received more than $1 million. In contrast, the bottom 80 percent of farming operations received only $5,000 in premium subsidies on average. These premium subsidies are not means tested, there is no limit on the payments a farming operation can receive, and the subsidies are not tied to conservation requirements. Taxpayers foot an average of 62 percent of crop insurance premiums, yet USDA does not disclose the names of premium subsidy beneficiaries to the public.
The report includes breakdowns of subsidies by state and by crop insured, and details operations that received over $1 million in premiums in 2011. A synopsis and the full report can be accessed here.