Database Detailing Farm Subsidies Gets Update

The Environmental Working Group is flipping the switch today on an enhanced database detailing USDA payments.

The dreaded "list" has been updated at the Environmental Working Group Web site. Dreaded, at least by some, who don't want neighbors knowing what they get from the government every year. However, the list for 2007 includes new information from 358,000 beneficiaries who received $9.8 billion in crop subsidy benefits between 2003 and 2005. That information was released by USDA after EWG sued to have it made public.

Of course, there are millionaires in that list getting subsides, and some are pretty famous including Paul Allen, Microsoft cofounder. The debate over payment limits and means testing for farm payments is heating up as the farm bill's renewal starts gaining momentum. Ag Secretary Mike Johanns has proposed - in the 183-page farm bill document he released earlier this year - that no one earning more than $200,000 a year in adjusted gross income should be eligible for payments.

You can check out the database by visiting www.ewg.org - the public gets a chance to see the data starting today at Noon Eastern time when information about 1.5 million people will be available on the site.

TAGS: USDA
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