The Environmental Working Group in the U.S. has released the latest update of its farm subsidy database. The new database tracks $245 billion in American farm payments from 1995 to 2009. The largest farm operations receive the lion’s share of payments. Since 1995, just 10 per cent of farm program recipients have received 74 per cent of all the money. According to the Environmental Working Group, the reforms incorporated into the 2008 farm bill haven’t changed much. In 2009, the top 10 per cent of recipients still received 61 per cent of the farm subsidies. The vast majority of the money goes to five commodity crops. For the first time, federal spending on the crop insurance program is beginning to rival the amount spent on traditional subsidies. The EWG argues that in a time of ballooning federal deficits, robust American farm income and increasing public anger over government spending in the private sector, farm subsidy programs should be cut. The organization points out that farm household income in the U.S. has exceeded the income for the average American household every year since 1996. I’m Kevin Hursh.

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