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Senators Aim to Cut Mega Farm Payments

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Senators Tim Johnson (D-SoDak.) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) continue their quest to steer farm program money into the hands of struggling ranchers and farmers who actually need government support. Yesterday they introduced new legislation to place hard caps on farm subsidy payments and close loopholes. From the news release:

“A strong safety net is critical to ensuring a safe and affordable food supply.  In order to maintain that safety net, we can’t have the mentality of the past where the government looked the other way and allowed people with no connection to the farm to take farm payments,” Grassley said.  “It’s unacceptable that small- and medium-sized farmers get so little of the very program that was created to help them.”

“The farm safety net was designed to help family farmers but it has increasingly led to a windfall for owners of our nation’s largest farms. Congress should act to close the loopholes and better target payments to our small and mid-sized family farmers. This legislation represents our best chance to move forward with reforms as consideration of the farm bill continues,” said Johnson.

Both senators should be applauded for taking courageous stands against powerful agribusiness interests in their states in an effort to right the gross inequities inherent in farm subsidies. We hope that as the farm bill debate progresses, we’ll see efforts to apply the same income caps with the rapidly expanding crop insurance program – that unfairly pads the accounts of the same mega farms that benefit from farm subsidies.

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Table Scraps

-       On World Water Day, the Surfrider foundation makes the connection between run-off from industrial agriculture and the group’s mission of protecting oceans, waves and beaches.

-       Kansas wheat farmer Vance Ehmke writes in a piece entitled Expanded crop insurance a bad policy, that the "shallow loss concept is nothing more than shallow thinking.”

-       At Yale 360 writer Jim Robbins has a comprehensive take on why the current farm bill is ripe for reform.

-       The Center for Science in the Public Interest has a video and action out on strengthening final menu regulations to include movie theaters.

Tweet of the day (special farm bill twofer):

@farmnewsjock House Ag Comm. Ranking Member says House Budget Committee has outlived its usefulness.

? @SPKrikava Klobuchar "mother of all lame duck sessions" budget deal could be vehicle for end-of-year deal on farm bill

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