July 29, 2011
The Congress Blog page of The Hill, a paper and website widely read in federal policy circles, published four blog posts on July 28 by four Republican Senators and Members of Congress who are farmers and maintain interests in farms that are in their families.
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) penned “Food and farm bill benefits everyone” in which he notes the farm bill’s original intention to help small-and mid-sized farms get through difficult times has gotten lost over time. In response, he explains “That’s why I’m proposing genuine reforms to the farm payment system that will end unlimited farm payments and tighten restrictions on eligibility. I’ll be fighting to tighten the requirement that recipients must be actively engaged in farming to qualify for farm payments and put a hard cap of $125,000 for an individual on farm payments…”
Grassley also maintains “Family farmers and small producers deserve a fighting chance in the marketplace… We need to ensure a level playing field for all market participants and make sure the family farmer isn’t left behind by addressing the unfair practices, monopoly and vertical integration in agriculture.”
Another Republican Senator from an “I” state, Richard Lugar of Indiana, added his thoughts in a post entitled “Time to reduce and reform federal farm spending.” Lugar revives his more radical idea of replacing the entire current system of commodity programs and subsidized crop insurance with a single revenue insurance plan available to all types of farms, not just those with historic program crops, to cover either 85 percent of expected crop revenue or 80 percent of a farmer’s five year adjusted gross revenue. Lugar also proposes to repeal the sugar program in its entirety.
Fellow Hoosier, Freshman Republican Representative Marlin Stutzman calls for the elimination of all direct payments and their $5 billion a year price tag in “Farmers ready for Agriculture’s Committees tough decisions.” In place of direct payments, Stutzman calls for strengthening crop insurance.
Ohio farmer Bob Gibbs (R-OH) joins the chorus of other Corn Belt representatives in singling out crop and revenue insurance and the ACRE program as the primary vehicles for the future of the farm safety net, as his “Crop insurance protects farmers from uncertainty” title suggests.
Categories: Farm Bill