False Reform: An analysis of Congressional payment limits proposals in the 2007 Farm Bill

May 13, 2008 Updates
News Release: Center for Rural Affairs Urges Farm Bill Veto
Weekly Column: Veto this Farm Bill

False Reform Report: An analysis of Congressional payment limits proposals in the 2007 Farm Bill

Read our press release on this report here.
Download a pdf of the full report here.
Read our blog post on the report here.


Introduction
Farm program payment limitations have been the single most controversial issue of the entire 2007 farm bill process.

The most far reaching proposal to tighten farm payment limitations – the Dorgan Grassley proposal – was not adopted in by either the House or Senate Agriculture Committee. It was considered by the full Senate and defeated, falling four votes short of the sixty-vote super-majority requirement imposed on the amendment by Senate leadership.

Nonetheless, House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders each claim the farm bill they developed represents significant payment limitation reform by virtue of eliminating the “three entity rule” and instituting “direct attribution” – the practice of attributing farm payments received by entities to the payment limitations of their owners. In fact, several leading proponents of the bill’s payment limit provisions have called it “historic” and “the biggest reform measure of all time”. The purpose of this analysis is to determine the impact of eliminating the three entity rule and instituting direct attribution of farm program payments.

Brief Conclusion
The findings of this study indicate that eliminating the three entity rule and instituting direct attribution of payments, as proposed by the House and Senate farm bills, would do little to reduce direct payments to the nation’s largest farms. In fact, the House bill would increase payments to the largest farms. Under the Senate bill, the vast majority of farmers currently utilizing the three entity rule to double the nominal payment limit would simply achieve the same result through the spouse rule.

Download a pdf of the full report here.

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