Grassley, Fortenberry Urge USDA Secretary to Enact Payment Limits
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Representative Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska sent a letter to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue urging him to use his existing regulatory authority to implement the Farm Bill in order to ensure that individuals receiving farm payments are actively engaged in farming.
“The farm safety net in this country was never intended to maximize government payments or cover every bushel of every commodity on every acre. The support programs are intended to provide support to working farmers to protect against low prices or yields and to provide enough support that if a farmer has a bad year, that farmer can survive to plant again the next year,” Grassley and Fortenberry wrote.
“We need an effective payment limit system, one in which each farm is subject to the same limitation, where paying lawyers and accountants to re-design farms to exploit regulatory loopholes in order to receive unlimited subsidies is not allowed.”
Grassley has been a vocal advocate for farm payment limitations. A Grassley amendment to close a loophole allowing an unlimited number of so-called managers to qualify for federal subsidies was included in the last two farm bills. In both of the last two farm bill negotiations, Grassley’s amendment was removed from the final bill. Before the last farm bill, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) documented that at least $259 million was paid out through the actively engaged loophole Grassley’s amendment sought to close.
Text of the letter is available here.