Farm payment limits being discussed again

Two Midwestern lawmakers are calling on the Department of Agriculture to enact payment limits through farm programs. Senate Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa along with and Representative Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska penned a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, urging him “use his existing regulatory authority” in order to ensure that individuals receiving farm payments are actively engaged in farming.

The letter states the farm safety net “was never intended to maximize government payments.” The letter calls for “an effective payment limit system,” one in which each farm is subject to the same limitation.

Grassley has been a vocal advocate for farm payment limitations. A Grassley amendment to close a loophole allowing an unlimited number of so-called managers to qualify for federal subsidies was included in the last two farm bills. In both of the last two farm bill negotiations, Grassley’s amendment was removed from the final bill.

Before the last farm bill, the Government Accountability Office documented that at least $259 million was paid out through the actively engaged loophole Grassley’s amendment sought to close.

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