Eight current members of the House Agriculture Committee received farm subsidies at some point since 1998, said the Environmental Working Group on Tuesday. Seven of the eight describe themselves on their congressional websites as farmers or the offspring of a farm family.
“These same members will be helping to draft this year’s farm bill, through which federal farm subsidies are allocated,” said the EWG, a critic of “chemical industrial farming” and a supporter of larger conservation funding.
The EWG, which maintains a database of farm support payments dating from 1998, said it identified 25 U.S. representatives now in office who received payments in the past 27 years. The eight House Agriculture members were Reps. Jim Baird of Indiana, Jim Costa and Doug LaMalfa of California, Frank Lucas of Oklahoma, Tracey Mann of Kansas, Mary Miller of Illinois, John Rose of Tennessee and Austin Scott of Georgia. All but Costa are Republicans.
Baird, Costa, LaMalfa, Lucas, Miller and Rose say in biographies on the congressional websites they are current or former farmers. Mann grew up on a family farm and worked in commercial real estate and was Kansas lieutenant governor before election to the House. Scott’s biography says he ran an insurance brokerage firm for 20 years. The EWG said Scott was half-owner of a farm.