LYONS, Neb.-Today, the Center for Rural Affairs praised the Senate Agriculture Committee for closing loopholes in the farm payment limitation.
"We applaud the Senate Ag Committee for passing a Farm Bill that for the first time in a generation closes the gaping loopholes that have made a mockery of the farm program payment limitation," said Chuck Hassebrook of the Center for Rural Affairs. "Most of all, we thank Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) for his tireless advocacy for reducing subsidies for mega farms to drive family farms out of business."
According to Hassebrook, closing the loopholes is a critical step. And the next step is to apply those limits to uncapped premium subsidies for federal crop insurance, the most expensive element of the farm program. "If one corporation farmed every acre in America," said Hassebrook. "The federal government would pay 60 percent of its crop insurance premiums on every acre, every year."
"Crop insurance subsidies are highest in times of high prices-when they are needed least. That's because it costs more to insure $6 corn than $4 corn. Crop insurance costs have doubled in the last five years and quadrupled in the last 10 years," Hassebrook continued.
The Center for Rural Affairs also praised Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) for working to fund rural development programs through the farm bill. "If passed as it now stands," said Hassebrook, "this farm bill will be the first in a generation to include no funding for rural development." Brown and Nelson are pressing to change that before the bill comes before the full Senate.
The Center also praised Senators John Thune (R-SD), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Mike Johanns (R-NE) for winning a sodsaver provision that will reduce federal crop insurance subsidy premiums for breaking out erosion prone native grasslands for crop production.