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Analysis: House Farm Bill “Squeeze” for VA Family Farms is Not Love

September 10, 2007

Richmond, VA – Virginia family farmers may have been fooled, according to a new analysis of the U.S. House Farm Bill. Chuck Hassebrook, with the Center for Rural Affairs, says the "small print" means payments to the biggest farm operations in Virginia could go up 50 percent.

"It subsidizes the largest farms, but drives smaller operations out of business. That's not good for rural America, and it's not good for family farms."

President Bush has called for serious reform and limits on how much taxpayer money goes to large farming operations. Hassebrook says those large-scale subsidies hurt family farms in the U.S. They also hurt people beyond America's borders by harming competitiveness for crops in other countries, especially with cotton crops. Supporters of payments say they help lower prices for consumers, but Hassebrook believes Virginia farmers and rural communities have been misled by the current version of the House Farm Bill.

"They said that they had produced a bill that tightened the payment limitation, but in fact, this bill substantially increases the payments that will go to the nation's largest farms."

The Center for Rural Affairs'analysis is available online, at www.cfra.org.

Deborah Smith/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - VA