Fall Harvest, 10.17.2017

A farmer harvests corn in Pawnee County last month.

KAYLA WOLF, Journal Star file photo

Nebraskans got more than $1 billion in farm subsidies in 2016, according to a report.

The Environmental Working Group on Tuesday released the latest update to its farm subsidy database.

It shows that Nebraska ranked fifth among all states with more than $1.07 billion last year in subsidies from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

About $700 million of that was in the form of crop subsidies and nearly $300 million was from crop insurance payments.

Overall USDA subsidies paid out to the states topped $17.2 billion in 2016, up from just less than $15 billion in 2015.

The non-profit organization said in a news release that many large farm owners are "double-dipping" -- essentially getting paid twice for the same loss from more than one subsidy program.

Farm businesses regularly get payments from their government-subsidized crop insurance policies and then receive separate payments from one of two Department of Agriculture subsidy programs created in the 2014 Farm Bill – the Agricultural Risk Coverage program or Price Loss Coverage program.

“ARC, PLC and crop insurance each define 'losses' in different ways, but in the end they pay out for the same reason: failure to meet expectations for crop yield or revenues," Anne Weir Schechinger, EWG's senior economics analyst and co-author of the report, said in the news release.

Most of the subsidy payments in Nebraska flow to counties in the eastern and central parts of the state. Farmers in Hamilton County received nearly $22 million in 2016, tops among all counties.

Lancaster County landowners received nearly $9 million, to rank 32nd.

To see the full database, go to: https://farm.ewg.org/index.php.

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