USDA now obscures the names of some farm subsidy recipients

After decades of releasing the names of everyone who receives farm subsidy payments, the USDA has changed course, hiding the names of a portion of farm subsidy recipients. An advocacy group that publishes the data says that the decision to withhold recipient names obscures how billions of dollars of taxpayer money is spent.

Farm payments doubled during subsidy flood, says EWG

The government paid a record $41.6 billion in a variety of subsidies to farmers in 2020, double the amount they received in 2018, when the Trump-era cash gusher began flowing, said the Environmental Working Group on Wednesday.

Very large farms collect one-fifth of USDA’s coronavirus payments

The average USDA coronavirus relief payment to farmers is less than $16,000 but the biggest operators are getting payments that are 22-times larger, said an environmental group on Tuesday in questioning the fairness of the $10 billion program. Meanwhile, lawmakers agreed to give more funding to the USDA so it can keep farm supports flowing.

‘Big pile of money’ for farmers could backfire in Congress

The Trump administration enabled multimillion-dollar payments to some large operators in this year’s round of trade war payments by obliterating the usual limits on farm subsidies, said the president of the National Farmers Union on Thursday.

Report links farm manure to algae blooms in Lake Erie

A spike in the number of large-scale animal farms and resulting manure production in the Maumee watershed is contributing to algae blooms in Lake Erie, a new report finds. The authors write that over half of the manure contributing to water pollution comes from farms that don't require permits or regulatory oversight.

New study finds glyphosate in oat, wheat products

Popular oat cereals, granola bars, and oatmeal contain significant levels of glyphosate, the chemical in Monsanto’s popular weedkiller Roundup, according to new testing done by the Environmental Working Group. EWG’s study found that dozens of oat and cereal products contain levels of …

Report: ‘Growing epidemic’ of toxic algal blooms across the United States

Some 169 toxic algal blooms were reported in 40 states in 2017, compared to only three blooms in 2010, says the Environmental Working Group in a report released today that names agricultural runoff as a primary factor. The EWG says farmers should be required to meet basic standards for control of nutrient runoff because voluntary efforts are insufficient.

EWG updates farm subsidy database, calls for limits on payments

Farm subsidy costs are higher than projected when the 2014 farm law was enacted, said the Environmental Working Group, urging Congress to reduce payments to the largest operators. "“If Congress is serious about reducing the deficit, reducing farm subsidies to millionaires would be a good place to start,” said EWG analyst Anne Schechinger.

Land easements mean long-term conservation benefits, says green group

To get long-lasting benefits, USDA should pursue land easements, rather than pay billions of dollars to landowners who abandon a short-term commitment to land stewardship whenever commodity prices boom, says the Environmental Working Group.

Hog farm bill affects ‘hundreds of thousands’ of North Carolinians

An environmental group estimates that 160,000 people would lose some of their property rights under legislation being considered in North Carolina to reduce the legal liability of large hog and poultry farms for noxious odors from animal wast

To boost cover crops, shift funds from crop subsidies and insurance, group urges

Cover crops are a well-known way to reduce nutrient runoff and soil erosion when farmland is idle outside of the growing season but few corn and soybean farmers plant them, says the Environmental Working Group. In a report, EWG suggested "shifting a small allocation" of money from crop subsidies and crop insurance to pay for a dramatic boost in the cost-share funds that help farmers get started with the practice.

Green groups doubt Sessions will enforce environmental law

President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions, is "one of the most outspoken critics of environmental sciences" and "a proven opponent of environmental protection," say environmental groups, who fear Sessions will go slow on enforcement of clean air and clean water laws. The Alabama Republican also is an unwavering foe of a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

Strawberries top EWG’s ‘Dirty Dozen’

If there’s one fruit to be wary of its conventional strawberries, says the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which put the fruit at the top of its annual "Dirty Dozen" ranking.