Farm Bill Needs Payment Limits

Many young folks dream of farming and ranching. They have spent their lives watching their parents struggle to keep the farm so that one day they have something to pass down to their children.
But unfortunately, by the time those children are ready to take the reigns there is not enough land to sustain one family let alone two or more families. And the reality is, for a beginning farmer, buying land is out of reach.

The cost of land increases 10 to 15% per year. A recent report of land costs in Iowa shows that they rose 16% in 2006, on top of similar increases in 2005. Farm land prices are rising to levels not seen for 20 years in the United States.

The only people who can afford this outrageously high-priced land are the very largest, often corporate farms. They use their government farm payments to drive smaller operations out of business by bidding land away from them. And large, aggressively expanding producers bid their farm payments into land prices, forcing everyone to higher rent and property taxes. Unlimited farm programs do nothing to increase operators’ income except on previously owned land.

There is a great need for a farm bill with payment limits. Farm payment limits that level the playing field will bring young families back to farms and rural communities. Now more than ever, we need a farm bill that supports family farmers, beginning farmers, and the rural communities they support.

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