Imagine discovering your salary and assets posted on the Internet.
Farmers throughout the nation are
finding their names listed on the Web, along with the amount of
federal subsidies they've received since the passage of the 1996
Farm Bill. The Environmental Working Group retrieved and compiled
the data under the Freedom of Information Act.
think it's an intrusion of privacy," says Nadyne Kinser, a farmer
in Paonia, Colo. Kinser notes that the current subsidy program
often excludes small farmers and rewards big players. Indeed,
Fortune 500 companies such as DuPont received subsidies nearing
$200,000, while the average recipient took less than
While some farmers are embarrassed to
see their subsidies listed, Environmen-tal Working Group press
secretary Sarah Feinberg says it's important "to make public what
(Environmental Working Group) has known all along." Small farmers
now understand why they're being bought out by their bigger
neighbors, she says.
Feinberg believes the Web
site had an enormous impact on the reformed Farm Bill passed by the
Senate. If adopted, the bill would subsidize more conservation
programs than ever before and more evenly distribute subsidies.
Over 350,000 people have visited the site, including Secretary of
Agriculture Ann Veneman.
To log on, go to