A report (pdf) released yesterday by the Campaign for Family Farms and the Environment (CFFE) exposes how industrial hog and dairy operations are subsidized through the federal Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The report, Industrial Livestock at the Taxpayer Trough, estimates that between 2003 and 2007, roughly 1,000 industrial hog and dairy operations have captured at least $35 million per year in taxpayer support through EQIP.
“This report demonstrates what family farmers have known for years—this corporate-controlled, industrial model of livestock production can’t survive without taxpayer support,” said Rhonda Perry, a livestock farmer with the Missouri Rural Crisis Center from Howard County, Missouri. “Taxpayers should not have to foot-the-bill for this corporate welfare that is fueling the industrialization of the livestock industry at the expense of family farmers, rural communities and the environment.”EQIP was established in the 1996 Farm Bill as a cost-share program targeted at family farmers to help them incorporate conservation practices into their farming operations. However, the 2002 Farm Bill opened the program to factory farms, allowing them to use EQIP to help them expand their operations.
CFFE is leading the fight against the corporate takeover of the hog industry and working for policies supporting independent family farmers. Member groups include: Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, the Land Stewardship Project (MN), and the Missouri Rural Crisis Center.