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ND Senator Calls for Mega-Farm Payment Caps

May 31, 2007

Lyons, NE - Many advocates for rural America say unlimited government payments to large-scale farms have put family farmers out of business -- but things may soon change. North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan has introduced legislation to create a hard cap of $40-thousand on direct payments to large farms. Chuck Hassebrook of the Center for Rural Affairs calls this amendment to the U.S. Farm Bill "the best thing to happen to family farmers" in a quarter century.

"I believe that thanks to Senator Dorgan's leadership in introducing this, the 2007 Farm Bill is probably the best chance we've had in the last 25 years to pass meaningful payment limitation reform."

Hassebrook explains the so-called "megafarms" use subsidies to bid land away from smaller farmers, driving up land prices. By capping payments and closing this loophole, small farmers could work on a level playing field.

"What this bill would do, effectively, is finally say 'no' to subsidizing the destruction of family farming through farm programs that had no effective limits."

Dick Layman/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - ND