[mccookgazette.com] Fair ~ 46°F  
High: 76°F ~ Low: 45°F
Wednesday, May 4, 2016

It's time to limit mega farm payments

Monday, March 26, 2012

Most Nebraskans understand that keeping a strong safety net helps maintain a safe and affordable food supply in our country. On this basic need for all Americans we don't want to farm out what our farmers produce. I've often said if we like importing most of our oil, we're going to love importing most of our food.

At the same time, everyone also understands that our national debt is far too high. It's dangerous for our country's future and needs to be addressed or our future won't be as bright as we all want it to be.

Curbing the deficit should start by curbing mega farm payments

These thoughts were in my mind when I recently joined Senator Chuck Grassley and a bipartisan group of senators on an effort to draw a line in the sand on federal farm payments. With the farm economy booming and our deficit far too big, the time has come to rein in these payments.

Unfortunately, loopholes have allowed mega farms to collect mega payments for quite awhile which hasn't helped the hundreds of thousands of small and medium size farming operations that are important to keeping a safe and affordable food supply. I've heard that 70 percent of all farm payments go to 10 percent of our farmers.

I have believed for a long time, along with most Nebraskans, that our federal farm program shouldn't encourage consolidation in agriculture. We want to limit mega payments to make sure that doesn't happen.

I've worked in the past with Senator Grassley before on efforts to limit farm payments. We've been successful and we are now working to carry on the limits we've placed in the last two farm bill and make them stronger.

Small and medium size farms benefit

Our plan would cap farm payments at $250,000 per year for any single farm. I know a number of Nebraskans think that cap is still too high. I also know that agriculture is different in different parts of the country, and that this is a good place to start. Today, there's no firm limit on farm payments.

By setting firm limits on farm payments, Congress can make sure they go to those who should receive them, small and medium size farms. Having a firm limit also makes sense to help get control of the federal budget. Washington needs to cut the spending in many areas of the budget and here's one way to contribute to that goal.

So, it seems to me that limiting payments so mega farms don't get them any longer has a number of benefits. It reduces the federal budget, slows farm consolidation, helps small and medium size farms stay in business and keeps vitality in our rural communities.

It's our hope this payment limits plan will be in the major farm bill Congress is working on to set federal farm policy for several years. I've often said maintaining the safety net needs to move in the direction of crop insurance and away from direct farm payments, and ending mega payments to mega farms heads us in that direction, too.

Fact Check
See inaccurate information in this story?

Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. If you feel that a comment is offensive, please Login or Create an account first, and then you will be able to flag a comment as objectionable. Please also note that those who post comments on mccookgazette.com may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.

environmental working group has a good site to see where your tax money is going. http://farm.ewg.org/region.php?fips=3114...

-- Posted by president obama on Mon, Mar 26, 2012, at 7:34 PM

wow, whats really wierd is that the same last names keep popping up.

-- Posted by president obama on Mon, Mar 26, 2012, at 7:38 PM

Dick Trail often rails against subsidies. These people better hope he doesn't catch wind of this. He'll be all over them like the smell of JP4 on a pair of britches by golly.

-- Posted by hulapopper on Mon, Mar 26, 2012, at 8:55 PM

You might be interesed to know that one out of the top of the list, bragged about how government payments built their new 1/2 a million dollar home!!

-- Posted by smz on Tue, Mar 27, 2012, at 10:19 AM

Railroads get huge subsidies...my question is...why?

-- Posted by Mickel on Tue, Mar 27, 2012, at 4:25 PM

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: