Farm Payments Bill Limits Excess, Closes Loopholes
Legislation introduced today in Congress will put a cap on farm payments individual producers are eligible for and close loopholes in the current program. The measure, introduced by Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, would set a hard cap on combined farm payments of $250,000 for a married couple.
“This is a good bill that would reduce some of the excessive payments big farms have been getting for years,” said SDFU President Doug Sombke. “The bill gives a better definition of who is actively engaged in farming so that people, mostly those who don’t even farm the land, can’t just use the payment system to score big checks from the government anymore. It’s a fiscally responsible idea. Farmers don’t need handouts, we need a comprehensive safety net that will protect us in times of disaster or drastically low prices.”
The bill would cap loan deficiency payments and marketing loan gains at $75,000 each and limit all other commodity program payments at $50,000. The U.S. Department of Agriculture would also have a better standard by which it would determine what farmers should and should not receive farm payments. The bill is will apply to whatever structure the new farm bill creates for the farm safety net.
“With the current state of our national deficit, this is a common-sense idea that would reduce costs while keeping a safety net for farmers in case they need it,” Sombke said. “We need a policy like this that helps real farmers stay on the land while not rewarding people who aren’t getting their hands dirty.”