Bill limits farm payments

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Feb 21, 2005
by WLJ
U.S. Sens. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Byron Dorgan (D-ND) introduced a bill Feb. 15 that would place a $250,000 limit on federal farm payments. The senators introduced similar legislation in March 2003.
Currently, a farmer can receive up to $360,000 in commodity payments a year. In addition, by using a marketing loan device known as generic certificates, the largest operations can receive unlimited payments.
"This bill would bring sensible reform to our farm policy. Because of the loopholes in the Farm Bill, about 60 percent of farm payments go to 10 percent of producers––allowing the largest farm operations to grow with tax-payer dollars, while family farms get squeezed out. This step to level the playing field for small family farmers is long overdue," Hagel said.
The bill would tighten payment limits in two ways: Strip the largest farms of the ability to receive unlimited payments by limiting generic certificates; Tighten limits for farmers under the three entity rule––from $360,000 to $250,000.
In 2002, during the farm bill debate, Hagel, Grassley and Dorgan worked to implement real
payment limits. The amendment received 66 votes in the Senate, and was adopted as part of the
Senate Farm Bill, but was stripped from the Farm Bill conference report. — WLJ