Grassley Defends Payment Limit Reforms on Senate Floor
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley spoke about the farm bill on the Senate floor Wednesday. He focused on reforming payment limits for farm programs - noting that beyond saving money - the reforms help ensure farm payments go to small and medium-size farmers. In addition - Grassley said the reforms would close loopholes so non-farmers can't game the system. As Congress moves toward finalizing a new farm bill - Grassley says Sections 1603 and 1604 related to farm payments should stay in the bill. He said the reforms strike a needed balance of recognizing the need for a farm safety net while making sure it is a defensible and responsible safety net. Grassley stressed that farmers need a safety net - but said there comes a point where a farmer gets big enough to weather tough times without as much assistance from the government. But over the years - Grassley said big farmers have started receiving the lion's share of farm program payments. He noted the largest 10-percent of farmers are receiving nearly 70-percent of farm payments. Grassley said taxpayers shouldn't be subsidizing large farming operations to grow even larger. Reasonable caps on the amount of farm program payments any one farmer can receive - according to Grassley - helps ensure the program meets the intent of assisting small and medium-size farmers through tough times. He said the new caps will also help encourage the next generation of rural Americans to take up farming. Grassley said it's just good policy to have a hard cap on the amount a farmer or farm entity can receive in farm program payments. Grassley said there are tough decisions that need to be made as Congress looks to pass a five year farm bill - but this isn't one of them. He said the reforms to payment limits are common sense and necessary - and were included in both the House and Senate versions of the farm bill.
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