Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is disappointed with the approach to payment limits in the draft farm bill released by House Agriculture Committee leaders Thursday. He says the grassroots have called for sensible commodity program caps to prevent subsidizing big farm operations with taxpayer dollars so they can get even bigger. In addition – Grassley says it’s important to ensure farm payments go to actual farmers. He notes the Senate-passed farm bill included provisions to limit payments – including a 50-thousand dollar cap on the Agricultural Risk Coverage program, the closing of loopholes exploited by non-farmers and a 75-thousand dollar cap on marketing loan gains and loan deficiency payments. Grassley says the House draft doesn’t even stick with the status quo for payment limits.
According to Grassley – the measure would have a farmer choose between a counter-cyclical program and a revenue program and increase the farmer’s cap to 125-thousand dollars regardless of the program chosen. He notes direct payments currently have a limit of 40-thousand dollars per farmer and the counter-cyclical program has a limit of 65-thousand dollars. Further – he says the draft bill would not place any cap on the amount of benefits any one farmer could receive from the marketing loan program. Grassley calls it an indefensible approach for farm programs – and encourages the House Ag Committee to take a serious look at the common sense and meaningful payment limit reforms the Senate adopted and adopt the same approach.
Soybean Association Responds to House Farm Bill Proposal
The American Soybean Association supports a number of provisions in the draft Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act released Thursday. ASA President Steve Wellman – a Nebraska farmer – says the group supports the reauthorization and funding of important trade and market development programs, reauthorization of agricultural research programs and the focus within the conservation title on working-lands conservation and a gradual reduction of acres enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program. ASA is also pleased that the House bill includes H.R. 872 – which would ensure farmers aren’t required to obtain duplicative permits for pesticide applications. When it comes to commodity policy – Wellman notes a key priority for ASA is ensuring policies don’t distort planting decisions. He says the group looks forward to working with the House to ensure soybeans are treated equitably and planting decisions would not be distorted by programs offered under the House bill.
The farm bill proposed by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas and Ranking Member Collin Peterson would trim 35-billion dollars in spending from agriculture, conservation and nutrition programs over 10 years as compared to current law. Wellman says ASA knows the budget challenges facing the nation are serious. He says ASA is committed to a bill that bears agriculture’s fair share of deficit reduction responsibilities.
Source: NAFB News Service