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Farm payment limit amendment clears budget committee

Agriculture.com Staff 03/06/2008 @ 3:32pm

An amendment to allow a hard cap of $250,000 on the amount of farm payments an individual can receive passed the Senate Budget Committee on Thursday.

According to a report from his staff in Washington, Grassley introduced the amendment with Senator Wayne Allard of Colorado.

"The farm bills that passed the House and Senate have loopholes that make the farm payment system worse than what we operate under now. So, despite the fact that we're in the middle of conference negotiations, I'm looking for ways to address the problems that weren't taken care of," Grassley said. "The majority of the Senate gave its support to payment limits during the farm bill, so it seems only right to keep pushing for passage."

The amendment would save $641 million over five years and $1.401 billion over 10 years. The amendment also specifies that the savings be applied to nutrition.

Grassley has long advocated that farm payments are directed to small and medium sized farmers to help them get through the lean years. During the farm bill debate in December, the Iowa Republican's payment limits amendment was required to reach a 60 vote threshold for passage. The amendment received 56 and did not pass. Only an adjusted gross income cap for farm payments was included in the Senate farm bill that is currently in conference committee between the House and the Senate.

"Congress needs to come to a consensus on the farm bill so that growers can make decisions for this year and the next for their farming operations," NCGA president Ron Litterer said in a report from the group. "NCGA is adamant that a viable optional revenue component -- one that adapts to the greater risk and volatility in the market -- be included in the farm bill."

An amendment to allow a hard cap of $250,000 on the amount of farm payments an individual can receive passed the Senate Budget Committee on Thursday.

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