New Report Shows South Plains Ranks High For Farm Subsidies - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/12/07

New Report Shows South Plains Ranks High For Farm Subsidies

Lubbock is among the top areas in the nation when it comes to farm subsidy recipients.

Tuesday morning, Environmental Working Group compiled the data and posted reports showing who takes in the most money from government farm subsidies across the nation.

NewsChannel 11 has been looking at the data and found Lubbock County's Congressional District, District 19, ranks sixth in the country for subsidy payments.  That's money the government gives farmers when prices drop below a certain point to keep farmers afloat, but it's also paid to land owners for conservation.

Congressman Randy Neugebauer tells us we're among the highest because the South Plains is one of the largest cotton producing areas in the world.  Add that to wheat, and the growing peanut industry, and Neugebauer says it makes sense our area would receive a larger share of the pie.

When folks log on to check out who receives subsidies, though, they'll also find names such as Scotty Pippen and David Letterman.  We wanted to know why they get subsides.  Neugebauer says they most likely own conservation land.

"You're going to see some Scotty Pippens and some other people that may own large areas of CRP where it's a conservation area. They may not be growing crops," Neugebauer said. 

CRP land, or land in the Conservation Reserve Program, is usually covered in grass or other vegetation, and is used to prevent erosion and protect animal habitats.  Farmers and ranchers in our area do this and they can receive subsidies for both their crops and conservation.

Now that these figures are out, we also wanted to know if the report will change any work on the upcoming 2007 farm bill.  We'll have Congressman Neugebauer's answer tonight on NewsChannel 11 at 10.

To check the Environmental Working Group's Farm Subsidy Database, click here.  Due to a large number of users, the page may take several minutes to load.

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