House Farm Bill Unbalanced

The farm bill passed by the full House on July 27th will weaken family farms and exacerbate rural population loss. The bill would raise the true limit on direct farm payments, made regardless of farm prices, from $80,000 to $120,000 annually - covering 8,000 acres of corn and soybeans, 16,000 acres for a father/son operation.
The House of Representatives came down firmly on the wrong side of the central issue in the farm bill debate -unlimited subsidies that the nation's largest farms use to drive their neighbors out of business vs. targeted subsidies that support family farms and investment in the future of rural communities.  
 
The Democratic leadership said they cannot pass the farm bill with real payment limitations due to the opposition of southern plantation interests.  Cotton and rice farmers, however, are getting over $200 per acre annually under the current farm bill.  Does anyone believe they will tear down a farm program that pays them $200 per acre and hundreds of thousands of dollars in total because of a payment cap? 
 
It is the absence of effective payment limitations that makes farm bills hard to pass.  Million dollar payments to mega-farms are destroying the credibility of farm programs.
 
In recent years, the federal government has spent six times as much subsidizing the 20 biggest Nebraska farms as it has spent to support rural development in the 20 Nebraska counties suffering the worst population declines - counties containing 67 communities and over nearly 65,000 people.  The House farm bill worsens the imbalance, if it stands. Now, it is up to the U.S. Senate to do better.

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