The U.S. Senate passed a five-year, 500-billion dollar farm bill last night and forwarded the legislation on to the House. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says the wide-ranging bill is “a step in the right direction” with what he says are “responsible” payment limits on the commodity program.
Grassley says, “I would summarize it this way: saving $23-billion, doing away with direct payments, keeping crop insurance pretty much like it is, setting too high a target price for peanuts and rice, still had target prices for corn, soybeans and wheat but so low that they’ll probably never be used.”
The farm and nutrition bill passed the Senate on a 66-27 vote. Grassley offers talked about other details of what’s included in the bill.
“Saving some money on food stamps but less than half of one-percent of the total money that’s spent on food stamps,” Grassley says. “It has my payment limits in it and a definition of who is a farmer and who isn’t a farmer so non-farmers don’t collect payments.”
Grassley, a Republican, says he hopes members of the House take note of the reforms in the Senate-passed bill and sees the “positive changes” senators made to the farm payment system. Grassley says, “Probably the biggest difference between the bill that came out of the House Agriculture Committee and what we passed last night would be more savings in food stamps in the House bill than what’s in the Senate bill.”
Provisions included in the bill are nearly identical to legislation Grassley introduced earlier this year to place a hard cap on farm payments an individual farmer can receive in a year. He says the measure also aims to close long-abused and well-documented loopholes in the farm payment program.