Jackpot-winning West Texas family still collecting federal farm subsidies


For some people, enough just isn’t enough.

This is the case of a West Texas family that was among 43 locals who split a $46 million lottery jackpot in 1996.

Five members of the Terry family in Roby, Texas, also collected nearly $2.8 million in farm subsidies between 1997 and 2010, according to public records collected by the Environmental Working Group, which lobbies against subsidies.

They collected for disasters, conservation and commodity production for crops including wheat, sorghum, cotton and livestock.

And what makes them any different than the Michigan woman who railed against a proposed law to cut off food stamps for newly minted lottery millionaires? Of course they work, for one thing.

One of the Terry family, Mike Terry, denied collecting any subsidy money at all and said the government had taken a heavy tax hand to his winnings. According to the EWG report, though, he received $1.1 million after being part of the winning lottery team.

"I haven't farmed since 1982," Terry said. The total payout for the lottery money, after taxes, came to around $38,000 a year per winner, he said.

He added that consumers receive a subsidy every day at the grocery store, when they buy cheap food that farm subsidies make possible.

EWG published its story yesterday, the same day we wrote about the fine work Texas Comptroller Susan Combs is doing on transparency and her collection of farm subsidies at her West Texas farm.

Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or stevemiller@texaswatchdog.org.

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