Here's The Scoop

Senator Chuck Grassley
2013-05-15 16:46:53
The Scoop Farm and Nutrition Bill Includes Key Grassley Provisions Earlier this week, the Senate Agriculture Committee passed the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013. I voted for the bill, but hope that additional reforms can be adopted and we can continue to improve the bill. The bill we passed on Tuesday is similar to legislation that cleared the Senate last year. Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow and Ranking Member Thad Cochran incorporated reforms that I�ve been working on for several years that make the farm program more defensible and effective. When two-thirds of the farm payments go to the wealthiest 10 percent of farmers and there are loopholes that allow farm payments to go to non-farmers, Americans lose confidence that we�re using taxpayer money responsibly. The specific provisions in the farm and nutrition bill are nearly identical to legislation that I introduced earlier this year that would place a hard cap on the farm payments an individual farmer can receive in a year and close long-abused and well-documented loopholes in the farm payment program that currently allow non-farmers to qualify for federal farm payments and would allow one off-farm manager. An amendment that I circulated to other members of the committee was also adopted. That amendment is intended to make the farm bill more market-oriented in the way target prices are set. I had preferred the bill not include any target prices, because it distorts planting decisions. But with the adoption of my amendment, at least Iowa farmers, who tell me they don�t like target prices, won�t have to defend arbitrary target prices set by Congress. The amendment, for commodities except rice and peanuts, sets the target price by averaging the prices from the five previous years, while dropping the low and high price for that average, and multiplying it by a factor of 55 percent. Another amendment I didn�t have the opportunity to offer would restrict the Environmental Protection Agency�s ability to release personal information to environmental activists. This provision is necessary because of the EPA�s release of information to activists on 80,000 farmers nationwide. I�m now preparing the amendment for floor consideration I expect a lot of debate on these provisions of the bill, when the bill comes before the full Senate. But, in the end, good policy can win.
May 15, 2013

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