Draft farm bill/House Agriculture Committee PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 09 July 2012 12:11
Friday, July 6, 2012

Senator Chuck Grassley made the comment below about the approach to commodity program payment limits in the draft farm bill of the House Agriculture Committee.  The committee is expected to mark up a proposal next week.

The Senate-passed farm bill included provisions authored by Grassley’s to limit payments, including a $50,000 cap on the Agricultural Risk Coverage program, the closing of loopholes exploited by non-farmers, and a $75,000 cap on marketing loan gains and loan deficiency payments.

Senator Grassley’s comment:

“I’m encouraged the House Agriculture Committee appears to be moving closer to a mark-up of its version of the farm bill.  But it’s disappointing to see the approach the committee’s draft bill takes on payment limitations.  We’ve heard it from the grassroots – commodity programs need sensible caps to prevent the subsidization of big farms getting even bigger.  There’s nothing wrong with having a big farming operation, but those operations shouldn’t be subsidized by taxpayers just so they can get even bigger.  In addition, we need to make sure farm payments go to actual farmers.  Not only did the Senate Agriculture Committee listen to those voices from the grassroots, but so did the full Senate when it passed a bill that included defensible and effective reforms on the farm program payment limitations.

“The House Agriculture Committee’s draft doesn’t even stick with the status quo for payment limits.  It would actually increase the payment limits from the current law.  Currently, direct payments have a limit of $40,000 per farmer, and the counter-cyclical program has a limit of $65,000.  The House draft bill would have a farmer choose between a counter-cyclical program and a revenue program and would increase the farmer’s cap to $125,000 no matter what program is chosen.  Furthermore, this draft bill would not place any cap on the amount of benefits any one farmer could receive from the marketing loan program, leaving it completely uncapped.  This is simply an indefensible approach for farm programs and will lead to a continuation of the largest 10 percent of farms receiving 70 percent of the farm program payments.

“The other glaring omission in the House’s draft bill is it doesn’t address any of the loopholes currently being used by non-farmers to exploit the farm program.  With tight budgets and a growing federal deficit, taxpayers aren’t going to stand by and accept non-farmers profiting from a program designed to be a safety-net for farmers.

“The House Agriculture Committee should take a serious look at the common sense and meaningful payment limit reforms the Senate adopted in its farm bill and adopt the same approach.”

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