The single most effective thing Congress could do to strengthen family farms is to stop subsidizing mega farms to drive their neighbors out of business by bidding land away from them. The 2007 Farm Bill should set an enforceable payment limits on loan deficiency payments, marketing loan gains, and all other income support payments. This limit should be strictly applied to everyone, regardless of how many corporations they create. The bill should eliminate loopholes that allow large operations to receive millions in loan deficiency payments and marketing loan gains through generic certificates or by forfeiting commodities to USDA to pay off loans. It should also tighten rules on who can qualify for farm programs to require more active involvement in management or labor, except for landlords who share rent.
Report on House Bill: Loosening the Limits and Tightening the Noose
White Paper: The Case for Farm Bill Payment Limits
Poll: Producer Survey Shows Clear Support for Payment Limitations (PDF)
Poll: Voter Poll Shows Strong Support for Payment Limitations
Opinion Editorial: Dorgan Can End Hypocrisy
The Rural Development Title of the 2007 Farm Bill should be based upon and should focus on two themes: entrepreneurial development in rural areas and strategies to build assets and wealth for rural people and in rural communities. Both strategies address the persistent, deep-rooted poverty present in many rural parts of the nation. Both strategies address the growing economic disparity between rural and urban areas of the nation. And both strategies address the issues of how to repopulate rural areas and how to ensure the long-term future of rural America.
New Report: Economic Outcomes of Rural Microenterprise Development in the 2007 Farm Bill
White Paper: Rural Development and the 2007 Farm Bill
Testimony: Rural Development Testimony to U.S. Senate
Opinion Editorial: Brother, Can you Spare a Dime?
New Report: USDA: Oversubsidizing and Underinvesting
The Conservation Title of the 2007 Farm Bill should focus on rewarding good stewardship of the land by placing a greater emphasis on working lands, communities and fostering a new generation of conservation-minded farmers and ranchers. Although each of us has a moral obligation to leave the land at least as well as we receive it, the public also has an obligation to share in the cost of protecting the land and water on which all of us – current and future generations – rely for survival.
White Paper: Conservation and the 2007 Farm Bill
Addressing the challenges facing those who wish to become farmers and ranchers could not be timelier. In 1978, the United States had 350,000 farmers that were 34 years of age or younger. The USDA 2002 Census of Agriculture revealed, about 70,000 people 34 years of age or younger listing their primary occupation as farming. Less than one percent of America’s farmers are under 25 years of age, while nearly one-third are 65 or older. The fastest growing age cohort of farmers and ranchers are those 70 or older, the fastest declining is those 25 and younger.
White Paper: Giving a Beginner a Chance in the 2007 Farm Bill
The Research Title of the 2007 Farm Bill should establish a reinvestment in rural areas. We propose more research focus on increasing the profitability of small and mid-sized farms and ranches, and more research investment in non-farm entrepreneurship and economic development strategies that work for rural areas. We also propose increased investment in public plant and animal breeding – especially for sustainable and organic systems, an underserved area.
Priorities and Legislative Updates: Our Research Priorities and Occasional Updates
White Paper: Research and the 2007 Farm Bill