Center for Rural Affairs Supports Amendments to Farm Bill Proposa
The Center for Rural Affairs is urging Senate Ag Committee members to amend the farm bill proposal presented by Chair Debbie Stabenow and Ranking Member Pat Roberts. Traci Bruckner of the Center says the farm bill mark slashes investment in rural small business development and value-added agriculture while increasing crop insurance subsidies for some of the nation's largest farms and wealthiest landowners. According to Bruckner - there are opportunities to fix some of these issues as the committee debates amendments to the bill. An amendment offered by Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown and Nebraska's Ben Nelson - Bruckner says - is an important first step.
The Brown/Nelson amendment would deny farm payments to those individuals with taxable income over 500-thousand dollars. The money saved would be invested in beginning farmer programs, the Value Added Producer Grant Program, the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program and more. Another amendment supported by the Center would limit crop insurance benefits and premium subsidies for crops grown on native sod or land that a producer cannot verify has ever been tilled. That amendment comes from Senators John Thune of South Dakota, Mike Johanns and Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Sherrod Brown of Ohio.
Bruckner says much of the direction of the Senate Farm Bill will be determined as the Ag Committee undertakes consideration of over 100 amendments offered by its members. In today's economy - she says it's more important than ever that the Senate make wise choices.
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