Congress Should Cap Farm Subsidies

The closer Congress gets to the final farm bill debate, the more one hears members of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees insisting that no money be removed from farm commodity programs to support other programs, like rural economic development.
That short-sightedness may lead to lost opportunities.  Closing the loopholes in farm program payments limits would make farm programs work better, strengthen family farms, and save money to invest in the long-term future of rural America.

Budgets are tight and that means tough decisions have to be made regarding the best places to invest taxpayer dollars.  There is one place to find real dollars — close the loopholes in farm program payment limitations and put the savings into rural economic development programs.

Farm programs are important, but investing in rural small business creation is a better use of our tax dollars than sending million-dollar checks to mega-farms.  Making the current paper limits real in farm programs is a bipartisan, common-sense reform supported by rural citizens and true family farmers throughout Nebraska.  Republican Sen. Grassley of Iowa and Democratic Sen. Dorgan of North Dakota have introduced legislation to do just that, and limit farm program payments to $250,000 – a first step to revitalizing farming and rural communities.  We urge members of Congress to support this legislation.

Rural development programs in the farm bill are crucial to the future of rural America.  Congress needs to match its stated commitment to such programs with real funds.  Putting real dollars behind the rural development title of the 2007 Farm Bill would demonstrate a true commitment to our rural communities.

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