The Chairwoman's legislation that was debated in the Agriculture Committee contained the most important parts of Grassley's efforts to limit farm program payments to small- and mid-size farmers. The legislation that cleared the committee will limit farm payments under the proposed new commodity program to $50,000 for individuals and $100,000 for married couples. The bill also includes a provision to begin closing the loopholes that allow people who aren't involved in farming to collect farm payments. The provision prevents non-farmers from being able to use the management loophole in current law. A person who doesn't provide labor for the farming operation will still be able to qualify for farm payments by helping manage the farm. However, there can only be one individual per farming operation qualifying for payments based solely on their providing management. This provision will help the Department of Agriculture crack down on the general partnerships that have multiple non-farmers trying to qualify for farm payments by exploiting the management loophole. This will end some of the most egregious abuses of the farm program.
"Today, progress was made in one of the most important areas needed for reform in the farm programs. I've been pushing to limit farm program payments to those who need it most for many years. The farm program was never meant to give 10 percent of the farmers 70 percent of the benefits. We needed a fix that keeps the farm program focused on helping small- and medium-sized farmers get through the ups and downs of farming, all while understanding the fiscal situation the country is in. This bill takes a meaningful step in the right direction. There are still areas of improvement that I'll be pushing for, but I appreciate Senator Stabenow and Senator Roberts including this important reform in the bill."