Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) have introduced legislation to limit farm program payments. The bill establishes a limit of $250,000 for farm program payments to any individual. The bill caps direct payments at $40,000; counter-cyclical payments at $60,000; and marketing loan gains, loan deficiency payments, and commodity certificates at $150,000/year. When introducing the legislation, Senator Grassley said, “Rural America can’t continue to withstand the pressure that unlimited payments create. The farm program was never intended to help big farmers get bigger; instead, it was created to help those who couldn’t withstand the political whims of Washington or the fierce reckonings of Mother Nature. When 10% of the nation’s farmers receive more than 70% of the payments, it erodes public confidence in federal farm programs. This legislation is a way to stop that trend from growing.” Program payment limits will be addressed next year during consideration of the farm bill.

Livestock Competition Workshop — A reminder for those interested in attending the Department of Justice-USDA competition workshop on livestock on Aug. 27 at Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, CO. It is recommended that you pre-register at U.S Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack will participate in this fourth in a series of five workshops focused on agricultural competition issues.

Senate in Recess —During the final hours before adjourning for the summer, the Senate confirmed Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, passed child nutrition reauthorization legislation, and passed mandatory price reporting legislation. As your senators return home, take the opportunity to visit with them about trade issues, renewable fuels, the farm bill, and the proposed Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) rule on livestock concentration. The Senate is in recess until Sept. 13.

P. Scott Shearer
Vice President
Bockorny Group
Washington, D.C.