Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., were able to
include a Sense of the Senate amendment in the Senate Budget Resolution expressing support for stronger farm payment limits.
The Sense of the Senate resolution, passed with bipartisan support by a vote of 15 to 7, does not put anything in action, but puts the Senate on record saying that any reduction in agriculture spending required by the budget should primarily be achieved through strengthening farm payment limitations.
The wording of the amendment explains that the actual budget outlays for farm bill programs for fiscal years 2002-2004 have been about $16.7 billion less than projected by the Congressional Budget Office in August, 2002, shortly after the farm bill was passed. In addition, the resolution says that over 72% of farm program payments are currently received by only 10% of our nation's program crop producers.
"This amendment just makes sense. Any reduction in farm spending should be achieved by better targeting farm program payments to small and medium sized farmers," Grassley says. "Farm payments, which were originally designed to benefit small and medium-sized family farmers, have contributed to their own demise by driving up land prices and pushing families off the farm."