Senators Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Tim Johnson, D-S.D., have requested that the deficit reduction committee include their legislation that places a hard cap on farm payments at $250,000 per married couple or $125,000 per individual, saying it would save more than $1.5 billion.
"Our bill maintains the much needed safety net for farmers so we are assured that the American people will have a safe, abundant and inexpensive food supply," Grassley said. "It also closes loopholes that have reduced urban support for the Farm Bill. This is an easy way to save some additional funds in what’s a very difficult task."
Grassley and Johnson introduced the legislation on June 9, 2011. Specifically, the bill caps direct payments at $40,000; counter-cyclical payments at $60,000; and marketing loan gains, loan deficiency payments, and commodity certificates at $150,000. The bill also improves the standard which the Department of Agriculture uses to determine farmers who are actively engaged in their operations.
"Particularly given the budget environment we’re in, it’s important that our farm programs are effectively targeted to those who need the assistance the most: the small and medium-sized family farmers," Johnson said. "I hope that our bill can be incorporated into any recommendations made by the deficit reduction committee."
In a letter to the Super Committee co-chairs Senator Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Representative Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, Grassley and Johnson acknowledged the challenging task facing the Super Committee and called their proposal a common sense change to agricultural policy. They also wrote that their main point is that setting a meaningful payment limitation and closing current loopholes in the law will provide savings and add integrity to the farm programs. No matter what decision the Joint Select Committee makes regarding commodity programs, the Senators urged the Super Committee to ensure payment limitations and closing of loopholes plays a meaningful part.
To view a signed copy of the letter, click HERE.