The farm bill produced by the House Agriculture Committee violates many of the principles developed by U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.
Here are six ways the House farm bill betrays Perdue’s principles:
- Threatens Trade – Secretary Perdue called for a farm bill that ensures farm subsidies comply with our trade obligations. But the House farm bill restores cotton subsidies that violated trade agreements in the past, which cost taxpayers $800 million in payments to Brazil.
- Distorts Markets – Perdue called for a farm bill that helps farmers weather economic stress without distorting the market. But, the house farm bill boosts government price guarantees, continues our Soviet-style sugar program, and creates new subsidy loopholes, increasing the likelihood that farmers will farm the programs rather than respond to market signals.
- Fails New Farmers – He called for a farm bill that promotes entry into farming by boosting access to land and capital for young, beginning, veteran and underrepresented farmers. But the House farm bill provides little help to new farmers and instead drives up the cost of buying or renting land, the biggest hurdle to new farmers.
- Leaves Rural America Behind – Perdue called for a farm bill that will expand and improve the effectiveness of tools to increase rural development. Instead, the House farm bill actually cuts funding for rural development by more than $500 million, at a time when the economic divide between urban and rural America is growing.
- Cuts Conservation – He called for a farm bill that supports conservation programs for better soil health, water and air quality. Perdue also wants it to ensure voluntary conservation programs balance farm productivity and conservation benefits. But, the House farm bill actually cuts voluntary conservation programs by nearly $1 billion, and makes especially deep cuts to working lands conservation programs that help farmers reduce drinking water pollution.
- Fiscally Irresponsible – Perdue called “for a fiscally responsible Farm Bill that reflects the administration’s budget goals.” But, the House farm bill fails to include any of subsidy reforms proposed by President Trump in his February budget request – reforms that would save the taxpayers almost $30 billion. Instead, the bill increases subsidies for the largest and most successful farm businesses by waiving a means test for some pass-through entities and allowing distant relatives to be eligible for farm subsidies.