HOT BLAST: Cash crops and Congress
Jun 06, 2013 | 1661 views |  0 comments | 50 50 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Three combines harvest the winter wheat on the Cooksey farm near Roggen, Colo.This week the Senate resumed debate on the almost $100 billion-a-year, massive, five-year farm bill that would set policy for farm subsidies and food stamps. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski, File)
Three combines harvest the winter wheat on the Cooksey farm near Roggen, Colo.This week the Senate resumed debate on the almost $100 billion-a-year, massive, five-year farm bill that would set policy for farm subsidies and food stamps. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski, File)
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New York Times columnist Mark Bittman has an interesting take on the Farm Bill currently making its way through Congress.

In discussing one version of the bill that would slash food stamp funding (the actual name of the program is Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Bittman mentions a congressman arguing in favor of the reduction. U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher,R-Tenn., used Scripture to defend his argument.

The eye-opening part deals with another section of farm policy - farm subsidies.

Bittmann writes: "For the God-fearing Fincher is one of the largest recipients of U.S.D.A. farm subsidies in Tennessee history; he raked in $3.48 million in taxpayer cash from 1999 to 2012, $70,574 last year alone. The average SNAP recipient in Tennessee gets $132.20 in food aid a month; Fincher received $193 a day. (You can eat pretty well on that.)" 

Astounding, right? 

“It’s hypocritical with a capital H,” Donald Carr of the Environmental Working Group told the Jackson (Tenn.) Sun.

Fincher isn't alone. The Environmental Working Group this week cited 15 members of Congress who benefited last year from farm subsidies, including one from Alabama.

An EWG press release Monday noted:

"Rep. Robert Aderholt's (R-Ala.) wife, Caroline Aderholt, is a 6.3 percent owner of McDonald Farms according to 2008 ownership records. McDonald Farms received $66,891 in direct payment farm subsidies in 2012. She also personally received a $345 direct payment in 2012.  EWG’s estimate of 2012 farm subsidies to Caroline Aderholt, using the percentage share information received from USDA, comes to $4,559. Caroline Aderholt’s total estimated amount of subsidies – directly and through McDonald Farms – is $207,426 from 1995-2012."

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