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A Disaster Waiting To Happen…Forever

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Publication Date: October 2007

Publisher(s): Environmental Working Group

Author(s): Ken Cook; Chris Campbell

Topic: Agriculture, forestry and fishing (Agricultural economics and farm holdings)

Keywords: farm subsidies; disaster payments

Type: Report


Every year, Congress is pressed to provide emergency ad hoc disaster aid to farmers and ranchers who have suffered weather damage to crops and livestock. Over the past 21 years (1985-2005), taxpayers have provided $26 billion in emergency agricultural disaster aid to more than two million farm and ranch operations. USDA sent out disaster aid checks every year for the past two decades, with payouts exceeding one billion dollars in 11 of the 21 years. (The $26 billion total does not include billions more paid through the heavily subsidized federal crop insurance program or the "emergency economic assistance" that roughly doubled subsidies for commodity crop farmers between 1998 and 2002.)