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Farm Bill Sowing Seeds of Disappointment for VA Farmers?

July 18, 2007

The nitty gritty details of the next U.S. Farm bill are being discussed in Congress this week, as the U.S. House starts looking at bill proposals. Many Virginia family farmers and ranchers would like to see some type of limit on the payments that go to large producers to encourage them to produce more, even when there's no demand for more.

Shenandoah Valley sheep farmer Leo Tammi says only a small number of the biggest producers get subsidies, and he says Virginia farmers, along with a majority of America's small family farms, are being competitively hurt by what he calls the "misguided" commodity program.

“When it comes to cutting subsidies, or cutting funding for conservation, and nutrition, and rural development, it's simple justice and common sense.”

A U.S. House committee is taking up the farm bill this week with up to 200 amendments expected. The bill sets farm and rural economic development policy for the next five years.

Tammi notes that public scrutiny of large payments to multi-million dollar farm companies has been loud and clear.

“Even though there is all of this talk for reform and pressure for reform, what's we're seeing is just some nibbling around the edges and not much in the way of real reform.”

Deborah Smith/Jamie Folsom, Public News Service - VA