Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he’s offering new caps on agricultural subsidies as debate gets underway on the new version of the farm bill. Grassley, a Republican, says he aims to see that the big corporate farmers don’t get any bigger at the expense of taxpayers.
Grassley says: "My amendment goes right at the payment disparity that unfairly tilts the lion’s share of farm payments to a fraction of the nation’s biggest farmers. Let me quantify that for you: ten-percent of the biggest farmers get 72% of the benefits out of the farm program." He says the current formula is driving up land prices and making it harder for the next generation of farmers to get started.
Grassley says it also makes the general public cynical about farm programs and ultimately makes them less supportive of farm programs. He says there needs to be a new limit to the amount of subsidies any farmer can collect. "My amendment would establish a very hard cap of $250,000 per farmer," Grassley explains, "I know Iowans think that that’s too big of a cap but that’s a compromise between all of the different segments of agriculture around the United States and we think this sort of compromise is what it takes to get something done."
The White House already threatens to veto the new farm bill, as the administration says the 288-billion dollar measure contains tax increases and budget gimmicks. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, the Democrat who chairs the Ag Committee, says he hopes to work out differences in the final bill.