Senator Chuck Grassley plans to lead the charge to impose a $250,000 limit on the amount of federal farm subsidies any single farmer — or farming corporation — can receive. Grassley says today, some folks are getting "fantastic" sums of money from the federal government.
"Ten percent of the biggest farmers getting 72 percent of the benefit out of the farm program, which means that we’re subsidizing large farmers getting bigger," Grassley says. Grassley says a vote on his amendment to the Farm Bill could come as early as Thursday night on the Senate floor.
Grassley says federal farm subsidies are meant to sustain small farmers during financial dips caused by war, natural disaster or other things farmers can’t control. "Super big farmers have the ability to sustain themselves for short periods of time where maybe small family farmers don’t," Grassley says. Grassley has tried to impose this cap in the past, but southern state lawmakers have opposed it.
"The argument made by rice and cotton farmers is that a $250,000 cap is unfair to (them) because it costs much more to grow an acre of cotton or an acre of rice than it does to grow corn or soybeans or wheat," Grassley says. The U.S. Senate Ag Committee, chaired by Iowa’s other Senator — Tom Harkin, is scheduled to take up the Farm Bill Wednesday.
Grassley says the agreement is to skip having the debate about farm payment caps in committee, but wage it when the bill is debated in the full Senate. Grassley is "optimistic" the senate will endorse his proposal. Grassley also wants to ban meatpackers from owning livestock.