Grassley Bill Would Strengthen Iowa Farms

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John Crabtree, Center for Rural Affairs, (402) 687-2103 ext 1010
LYONS, NE - Today, in the United States Senate, Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota introduced the Rural America Preservation Act of 2007 that would limit federal farm program payments to no more than $250,000 per farm. The bill eliminates loopholes, creates a hard cap on direct payments at $40,000, counter-cyclical payments at $60,000, and loan deficiency payments at $150,000. It would end the unlimited government subsidies that advocates of reform believe are the root cause of the decline of family farms across the country.

"This is real reform that strengthens Iowa family farms by curtailing mega farm subsidies in Iowa and elsewhere.  Senator Harkin's commitment to reform in the farm bill and Senator Grassley's unwavering advocacy make the 2007 our best chance yet to finally say no to subsidizing the destruction of family farming," said Chuck Hassebrook, Executive Director of the Center for Rural Affairs.

According to Hassebrook, closing payment limitation loopholes would prevent mega farms from using subsidies to bid land away from smaller farms and overbid land prices. Removing loopholes also restores good government and improves USDA's ability to enforce the law.

While the introduction of this legislation is certainly not the last word on the crucial issue of effective payment limitations, it sets the stage for the debate over this issue during the ongoing writing of the 2007 farm bill.

The Center for Rural Affairs has long advocated strong, effective farm program payment limitations.  "Rural politicians of both parties have long waxed eloquent about saving family farms while passing farm programs that subsidize their demise," continued Hassebrook.  "Senator Grassley and Senator Dorgan have, through the introduction of this bill, demonstrated their commitment to end the destructiveness of unlimited farm payments and create a better future for rural America."

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