This should be called the Norwegian Bachelor Farmer Payment Limitation. Single farmers take a small cut in their direct payment limit from $80,000 to $60,000, while everyone else gets an increase. The cut to single farmers is the combined effect of requiring direct attribution and raising the nominal limit from $40,000 to $60,000.
But married farmers get a 50% increase in their limit from $80,000 to $120,000. Current law allows large farms to receive double the nominal limit by either splitting payments between spouses or dividing the farm into three entities -- but not both.
Cutting one avenue to receiving double the limit, but not the other, accomplishes nothing except for the single farmers denied the second route. Married mega farmers will continue doubling and get a 50% increase as a result of raising the nominal limit to $60,000. That makes their effective limit $120,000. In addition, unlimited payments continue for loan deficiency payments and mega farms that take on investor partners.
Apologists for the increase are touting the provision denying payments to couples with more than $2 million of income. But that will have little impact in many states, other than causing rich landlords to switch from share rents to cash rents. That way the farmer will get the full payment and pass it on to the landlord through higher cash rent.
And any mega-farm with decent tax advice will keep taxable income below $2 million by investing in expansion. This is not reform. It is a false bill of goods.