The Czar and her Minister

The rice czar, Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), is speaking against more excellent comments by Sen. Klobuchar on payment limits.  She says that the payment limits compromise engineered by Conrad and Chambliss is good enough- and then says that they have lowered the limits on all three farm programs.  That is simply false.  In fact, the limit on marketing loans is completely removed in the Senate agreement- which is really no change at all from the 2002 farm bill.  They just moved some loopholes around.

Lincoln is really laying it on about supporting farmers and how this compromise is just the most reform in farm programs ever.  She says that farmers have to be large to be competitive.  She doesn't seem to get that large farmers would still get payments- just not over a certain amount.  Really, Lincoln is just fighting for her rice farmers, who get $96 per acre in direct payments- for doing nothing.

Immediately following her- and not agreeing with her outright but definitely implying he supports her- is the minister of big ag, Senator Conrad.  He's on his usual anti-media kick, complaining about negative media coverage relating to farmers and farm programs.  As always, he completely leaves out the fact that the vast majority of Midwestern media is in favor of real reform as well, and doesn't think his pitiful compromise goes nearly far enough.  He loves to talk about that "darn East Coast media".  And I fail to see how bashing the media does any good at all for family farmers and rural America.  There are better things to talk about.

Conrad says the Senate compromise "begins the process of reform".  My question, why don't we just do reform all the way?  And if we're beginning in this farm bill, at which farm bill will we achieve real reform?  2017?  2022?  


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