The head of the “Center for Rural Affairs” is no fan of the House-Senate compromise on the new federal Farm Bill. The Center’s spokesman, Chuck Hassebroek, says a Senate-endorsed limit on subsidies paid for farm crops is gone — a cap Hassebroek says would have prevented big southern “super-farms” from collecting millions.He says with no payment limitation, the new bill will subsidize giant farms at the expense of family farms to an even greater extent than present law. Hassebroek says other good ideas from the Senate version of the Farm Bill didn’t make it into the compromise bill.There is no ban on packer feeding and ownership of livestock in the compromise, and he says it doesn’t address smaller farms that allegedly don’t have fair access to livestock markets. The subsidy caps and meatpacker ownership ban were both included in the original Senate version of the Farm Bill. Hassebroek says the Senate bill was the most “family-friendly” bill in decades, but he says the House seemed “determined” to pass a bill to benefit meatpackers and corporate farms. He says the House proposal would provide million to companies like Smithfield Foods to put up new hog operations. Still, he says the compromise federal Farm Bill has some good points. He cites a program to help co-ops keep more profits from farmers’ foods, and there are many energy projects in the bill that Hassebroek likes.
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