Weekly Column

Cap Subsidies to Mega Farms

The debate over the 2013 Farm Bill has begun on the floor of the U.S. Senate. The draft Farm Bill that emerged from the Senate Agriculture Committee would level the playing field for farm families by establishing meaningful payment limitations on traditional farm programs for the nation’s largest and wealthiest farms - up to a grand total of $125,000 ($250,000 per couple), thanks to the tireless work of Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD).

Farm Program Integrity Act is a Step in the Right Direction

Representative Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) recently introduced legislation to tighten payment limits on federal farm programs and close loopholes mega-farms use to evade those limits. Mega-farms use unlimited farm program payments to bid up land costs, thereby driving smaller, family farmers out of business and barring beginning farmers from ever getting started.

Bucking the Trend ... and Going Rural

I recently read an article discussing how younger, college-educated people are drawn to life in a city. One source pondered, “Why wouldn’t a college grad be drawn by the allure of life in a big city?” He assumes there are few rural opportunities for young people and that nothing can change that.

Sodsaver Bill Introduced in Senate

Last week, Senator John Thune (R-SD) and Senator Amy Klobuchar lead a bipartisan group of senators in introducing legislation that would modify crop insurance premium subsidies for insured crops grown on native sod converted to cropland.

Democracy should work in Nebraska

Nebraska's nonpartisan Unicameral is a refreshing relief from partisan trickery and gridlock in Washington. For generations, Nebraskans have put good governance ahead of party loyalty, with legions of state Senators crossing political and ideological lines to find solutions to challenges facing the state.

The recent debate over a bill to provide health insurance coverage to an estimated 54,000 low-income, working Nebraskans is stalled after an unusual display of petty politics and opposition stall tactics.

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