Ag Policy Blog

Grassley Details Farm Bill Amendments on Payment Caps

Jerry Hagstrom
By  Jerry Hagstrom , DTN Political Correspondent

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said today and Monday that he will offer amendments to the farm bill, both in the Senate Agriculture Committee markup on Wednesday and on the floor.

Grassley told reporters today that he will offer amendments to define who is an “actively engaged” farmer eligible for subsidies, and to impose payment limits, but he has not decided which he will offer in committee.

Grassley also spoke at a Heritage Foundation event on Monday. In that speech he said, "I believe in a safety net for farmers. Farm programs should provide temporary assistance when there is a sudden change in markets or a natural disaster that hits a farmer’s crop. I do not, however, believe in unlimited subsidies like in the House Farm Bill. The House bill also made successful billionaires like Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and President Trump eligible for farm subsidies because the House bill eliminates the income cap for farm subsidy eligibility.

"I would point out, President Trump in his budget actually lowered the income cap from the current level of $900,000 to $500,000. So it seems President Trump doesn’t believe in farm subsidies for fellow billionaires."

The senator added, “Why can’t we require farmers who collect huge sums of money from the government to actually work on the farm? I do not believe in unlimited subsidies, like are in the House farm bill,” according to an article in the Food and Environment Reporting Network’s Ag Insider.

The Senate bill makes no changes to payment caps, but does lower the income eligibility to $700,000 adjusted gross income.

Grassley also said he would build support for a proposal by Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, to make changes to the Price Loss Coverage and Agriculture Risk Coverage program, and that he will support a bill sponsored by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., to make changes to the sugar program.

The American Sugar Alliance, which represents cane and beet growers, opposes the Shaheen-Toomey legislation, while the Sweetener Users Association, which represents food and beverage users of sugar, favors it.

A video of Grassley's comments to Heritage can be viewed here: https://www.c-span.org/…

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