zombie farmers don’t let their dead status get in the way of government handouts

WHAT THE HEY?!? “Millions in subsidies go to dead farmers” goes the header in The Seattle Times on July 31, 2013. Well, like who needs a good old-fashioned federal government, taxpayer-funded subsidy more than a dead farmer? After all, he’s bloody dead! Who’s gonna run the farm if he’s not there?

Actually, these dead farmers could still be running their farms—if they are zombies. I know, I know: there is absolutely no scientific evidence for the existence of zombies, but, as the Rep*blicans have made clear for thirty years, science is just full of “theerees,” not facts.

Unlimited crop insurance subsidies are now going to deceased policyholders.

Hell’s Belles, zombie-ism has almost as much belief backing it as creationism, and the conservatives are fighting to get that taught in high schools!

The money is not a big issue here: the total amount is estimated to have been “$10.6 million in payments between 2008 and 2012 to more than 1,000 people who had been dead for more than a year.”

Knowing nothing other than these figures, a very rough estimate would indicate that we are talking about $10,000 per farm household.

Those damned do-gooders

The article discusses possible overpayments involving insurance (a different topic entirely) and busting up a fraud ring in North Carolina that involved farmers, insurance agents, claims adjusters, and others.

You can’t make this stuff up!

What the article does NOT mention is exactly where these payments are going and to whom. Somebody is receiving them there gov’ment checks, signing them, and depositing them. But maybe that somebody ain’t a zombie farmer . . .

As for my original question above—Who needs a good old-fashioned federal government, taxpayer-funded subsidy more than a dead farmer?—well, it seems there’s an answer:

“Not only are unlimited crop insurance subsidies flowing to the largest and most successful farm businesses, they are now going to deceased policyholders. This irresponsible use of scarce taxpayer dollars reinforces just how broken the system is.”

So sayeth Scott Faber, vice president for government affairs of the Environmental Working Group, which has been critical of farm subsidies. 

And there go those damned do-gooders, blaming big business and a corrupt government agency or process. Lets do the Occam’s razor thing and stick with the zombie farmers, okay?


HEADER IMAGE: I found this great (but uncredited) illustration at the head of another article on the same topic: “6,336 Zombie Farmers Got a $36 M Government Payout” by  is on The Fiscal Times website. And if I might borry a line from Ms Ehley: “You can’t make this stuff up.”

4 Replies to “zombie farmers don’t let their dead status get in the way of government handouts”

  1. Or, we might ask how many gallons of water it takes to grow enough subsidized corn to make a gallon of ethanol with which to mess up gasoline.
    Just another slice of the razor.

  2. JOHN

    Thanks for the thought-provoking comments. Here are some thoughts on your thoughs:

    • More than 1/3 of all raw materials and fossil fuels consumed in the United States are used in animal production. (“Ecological Cooking” by Joanne Stepaniak and Kathy Hecker)

    • The production of one calorie of animal protein requires more than ten times the fossil fuel input as a calorie of plant protein. (The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition)

    • Producing a single hamburger uses enough fuel to drive 20 miles. (“The Food Revolution” by John Robbins)

    • Nearly 1/2 of all the water used in the US goes to raising animals for food. (“The Food Revolution” by John Robbins)

    • It takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of meat and only 25 gallons to produce one pound of wheat. (“Water Inputs in California Food Production” by Marcia Kreith)

    • To produce a day’s food for one meat-eater takes over 4,000 gallons; for a lacto-ovo vegetarian, only 1,200 gallons; for a vegan, only 300 gallons. (The Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook)

    • Animals raised for food produce approximately 130 times as much excrement as the entire human population and animal farms pollute our waterways more than all other industrial sources combined. Run-offs of animal waste, pesticides, chemicals, fertilizers, hormones and antibiotics are contributing to dead zones in coastal areas, degradation of coral reef and health problems. (The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency).

    • Raising animals for food (including land used for grazing and land used to grow feed crops) now uses a staggering 30% of the Earth’s land mass. (Livestock’s Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options, a 2006 report published by the United. Nations Food and Agriculture Organization)

    • Seven football fields’ worth of land is bulldozed every minute to create more room for farmed animals and the crops that feed them. (The Smithsonian Institution)

    • Of all the agricultural land in the U.S., 80% is used to raise animals for food and grow grain to feed them—that’s almost 1/2 the total land mass of the lower 48 states. (“Major Uses of Land in the United States” by Marlow Vesterby and Kenneth S. Krupa)

    • Air pollutants generated by animal farms can cause respiratory illness, lung inflammation, and increase vulnerability to respiratory diseases, such as asthma. (The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)

    • It takes up to 16 pounds of grain to produce just 1 pound of meat. (The Global Benefits of Eating Less Meat by Mark Gold and Jonathon Porritt).

    • Fish on fish farms must be fed 5 pounds of wild-caught fish to produce one pound of farmed fish flesh. (“The Food Revolution” by John Robbins)

    • The world’s cattle alone consume a quantity of food equal to the caloric needs of 8.7 billion people—more than the entire human population on Earth. (“The Global Benefits of Eating Less Meat” by Mark Gold and Jonathon Porritt)

    AND THIS IS MY FAVERAVEST: When the cesspools holding tons of urine and feces get full, factory farms will frequently get around water pollution limits by spraying liquid manure into the air, creating mists that are carried away by the wind. (“Neighbors of Vast Hog Farms Say Foul Air Endangers Their Health,” by Jennifer Lee, The New York Times 11 May 2003)

    1. Methinks that it’s all “food for thought.”… Maybe, there are just to many of us on the planet and “winter” is really coming.

  3. JOHN

    Good to know you’re outten and aboutten!

    If the hippies had won the battle of wills, among many other changes, population control would have been in effect for 50 years now, as would vegetarianism, reduction of consumption of fossil fuels, and the struggle would be for peace, not conquest.

    Winter might have been put at bay for millennia. But (and alas) as someone once famous once said, “La de da!”

    Your reading for this month: ECOTOPIA by Ernest Callenbach and WAR IS A RACKET by Gen. Smedley Butler.

    Your mission—should you choose to accept it . . .


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