Who gets the farm pork?

According to news reports, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will release on Wednesday a database showing just which farmers get part of the $56 billion in subsidies listed. Although this information has been available, the data have been difficult to locate and it has been almost impossible to find the names of individuals who received subsidy payments.

The USDA said the database is too huge for its website, so it is distributing the data to some news organizations and to the Environmental Working Group, which said it will post the info online.

The EWG site shows that in 2005, the top 10 percent of recipients were paid 66 percent of all USDA subsidies, and the top 1 percent of those receiving payments got 20 percent of the total.

As debate on the 2007 Farm Bill heats up in the next Congress, having readily available data on just which farmers receive which subsidies could make clear that the majority of the farm pork goes to relatively few porkers.