For Immediate Release
Proposed Farm Bills Continue Giant Giveaways to Big Agribusiness
Statement of U.S. PIRG Tax and Budget Advocate Dan Smith on the Farm Bills being considered by the Agriculture committees in both houses of Congress:
WASHINGTON - “The Farm Bills proposed by the House and Senate Agriculture Committees would keep the gravy train flowing for big agribusiness, locking in unjustified corporate handouts for the next decade. With Congress deadlocked over how to fix the budget, our elected leaders shouldn’t squander the opportunity to cut off giveaways to Big Ag once and for all.
“Taxpayers shelled out $277 billion in agricultural subsidies between 1995 and 2011, and the largest agribusinesses have made out like bandits. While the Ag lobby claims to stand up for small farmers, 74% of these subsidies have gone to just 4% of agribusinesses, with over 60% not even getting a dime. What’s more, a staggering $18.2 billion of these subsidies have gone to junk food ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, at a time when America struggles with an obesity epidemic.
“The Senate Agriculture committee stripped out of their bill even the most minimal reform to stop agribusinesses earning more than $750,000 a year from getting taxpayer handouts via the crop insurance program.
“Congress needs to make serious changes to this legislation or reject it entirely. Our elected leaders should stand up for taxpayers, not Big Ag.”
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U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), stands up to powerful special interests on behalf of the American public, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being. With a strong network of researchers, advocates, organizers and students in state capitols across the country, we take on the special interests on issues, such as product safety,political corruption, prescription drugs and voting rights,where these interests stand in the way of reform and progress.