Organizations Urge Support for Dorgan-Grassley Payment Limits Amendment

Release Date: 

11/06/2007

Contact(s): 

Traci Bruckner, tracib@cfra.org, (402) 687-2103 ext. 1016 Chuck Hassebrook, chuckh@cfra.org, (402) 687-2103 ext. 1018
Lyons, NE – On Friday, November 2, the Center for Rural Affairs along with 74 other organizations and individuals from across the United States released a letter urging Senators to vote for the Dorgan-Grassley payment limitation amendment to the farm bill.
The Dorgan-Grassley amendment would place a hard cap of $250,000 on annual farm program payments and close the loopholes that allow the nation's largest farms to evade the current, porous paper limits. 

According to the Center for Rural Affairs, the savings from these commonsense reforms would be committed to high priority investments in the future of America through investing in nutrition, rural development, beginning farmer and conservation programs.

“The 75 organizations that signed this letter demonstrate the broad geographic and philosophical support for capping farm payments to the nation's largest farms and closing the loopholes they use to evade farm payment caps.  The Dorgan-Grassley payment limits and the investment of the savings in initiatives that create real economic opportunity and a better quality of life in rural America and beyond both have broad support among all Americans,” commented Traci Bruckner Assistant Policy Director at the Center for Rural Affairs.

“The Agriculture Committee bill is not reform.  It would impose no reduction in payments on the vast majority of the nation’s mega-farms.  As drafted, only single, unmarried farmers will face a payment limitation reduction in years of high crop prices.  In years of low crop prices, mega-farms – married and single – will still get unlimited subsidies to drive smaller operations out of business," Bruckner continued.

Likewise, the Center for Rural Affairs believes that Committee’s means test will have little effect.  
 
While prohibiting high-income non-farmers from directly receiving farm payments, a means test based upon income will do nothing to prevent wealthy non-farmers who are also landlords from switching all their tenant-farmers to cash rents.  By doing so, the means test can be avoided because their tenant-farmers will receive the government payments, which will then be returned to the landlord in the form of cash rent payments; allowing federal subsides to flow unabated to large farms and wealthy landowners.  

The savings from these commonsense reforms would be committed to high priority investments in the future of America through investing in nutrition, rural development, beginning farmer and conservation programs.

To see the letter and a list of signatories go to: http://www.cfra.org/files/Dorgan-Grassley-Sign-On-Letter.pdf
For additional information visit: http://www.cfra.org/policy/2007

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