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Development Matters

I know it’s August, which is a lot closer to the middle of the year than the end. But someone, back in the day, invented the concept of the fiscal year.

As of this writing, almost 2,100 individuals have given a total of nearly $103,000 with over a month to go before the end of our fiscal year and our annual campaign. Last year we raised over $100,000 in contributions from over 2,000 individual donors. We are in the middle of a fight over the 2007 farm bill. And support from people just like you helps fund our most crucial and cutting-edge work.

What Would Rural America Look Like If

Fourth in our continuing series, this month we share John Crabtree’s letter to Iowa Senator Tom Harkin about the kind of farm bill that rural America truly deserves

The farm bill debate in the U.S. House of Representatives has been, to say the least, disappointing. Increased and weakened farm payment limits will mean larger subsidy checks to the nation’s largest farm operations being used to drive more of their smaller neighbors out of business. The following are excerpts of a letter I wrote on behalf of my family to Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) earlier this year.

Senator Harkin, no one will ever farm our farm again after we leave, not if things remain the way they are now. Of course, someone will till the soil, plant, and harvest. But no one will farm here; no one will live here.

Promising New Programs Part of House Farm Bill

Thanks to citizen activism, conservation, research, entrepreneurship, and beginning farm issues received a boost in the bill approved by the House ag committee

While disappointing in some significant respects, the farm bill passed out of the House of Representatives includes some promising new programs for rural America in response to the involvement of thousands of engaged rural Americans. We appreciate your efforts.

essay-House Farm Bill Would Increase Subsidies to Largest Farms

The House Agriculture Committee unanimously passed a farm bill that actually makes farm program payments to mega farms larger

The vote by the House Agriculture Committee to increase subsidies to the nation’s largest farms is a disservice to rural America.

Its version of the farm bill raised the true limit on direct payments made regardless of farm prices from $80,000 to $120,000. Mega farms get an additional $40,000 each year to drive their neighbors out of business. The increase is only for married mega farmers. Widows and bachelors take a small cut.

feature-New Report Compares Farm Payments to Rural Development Funds

The central issue in the 2007 Farm Bill debate is: Should the federal government provide bigger subsidies to the nation’s biggest farms to drive their neighbors out of business? Or, should the Farm Bill focus on supporting family-size farms and investing in the future of rural communities?

To inform those questions, we recently released An Analysis of USDA Farm Program Payments and Rural Development Funding In Low Population Growth Rural Counties, a new report that compares farm subsidy payments received by the largest farm businesses with the rural development grants received by counties experiencing the most severe demographic and economic distress.

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