PNS Daily Newscast - February 26, 2020 

Seven Democrats debate in South Carolina. And helping kelp forests off the West coast.

2020Talks - February 26, 2020 

Candidates took the stage in Charleston, South Carolina, ahead of Saturday's South Carolina primaries, but also ahead of next week's Super Tuesday. Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg took some hits, but Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the national frontrunner, was the main target.

Strengthening Family Farms Goal of Rural America Preservation Act

June 4, 2007

The stage is set for a debate on farm payment limitations following the introduction of the Rural American Preservation Act of 2007. The bi-partisan legislation that's sponsored by Sens. Grassley of Iowa and Dorgan of North Dakota would limit federal farm program payments to no more than $250,000 per farm. The Center for Rural Affairs, a Midwest-based farm group, has long advocated for the legislation. Executive Director Chuck Hassebrook says the reforms are needed to end the destructiveness of unlimited farm payments to mega-farms and to create a better future for family farmers in South Dakota.

“With this bill introduced, I really believe the 2007 Farm Bill is the best chance we've had in over a quarter century to get meaningful family farm reform, finally put a cap on these payments to large farms, and make farm programs work to strengthen family farms.”

Hassebrook expects large farm interests in the South to aggressively oppose the legislation. He believes that's why it's critical for policymakers who represent family farmers in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North and South Dakota to fight hard for the bill.

“What's critical is that our representatives don’t say, 'Well, we'll give into to the South on this because they're fighting it hard.' It's critical that our representatives say that we're not going to have another farm bill that destroys family farming.”

The legislation creates a hard cap on direct payments of $40,000, counter-cyclical payments at $60,000 and loan deficiency payments at $150,000. Hassebrook adds that the legislation would prevent mega farms from using subsidies to bid land away from smaller family farms.

“Essentially, it makes the paper limits that we have in place today real limits. And finally, it would put an end to having a farm program that subsidizes the destruction of family farming. Because with this proposal there would be a real limit on payments, and we get back to focusing more of the support on family farms rather than subsidizing mega farms that drive their neighbors out of business.”

David Law/Eric Mack, Public News Service - SD