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Farm Bill Study: Food for Thought for VA

September 28, 2007

Richmond, VA – A new study about what the Farm Bill means for Virginia shows government safety net payments are still going to those who don’t need the financial help; big, corporate farmers. And, that means less money for other projects under the Farm Bill, such as nutrition programs and conservation systems.

Report author Michael Cassidy with The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis, says, as the next Farm Bill is written, it’s an opportunity to re-focus on the goal of helping family farmers through rough times.

"Farm policy should eliminate subsidies to the wealthiest farmers. The original intent of the farm subsidy system was to provide a safety net for small and medium-sized farmers in need."

Cassidy says the Senate has the opportunity to restructure the Farm Bill so the pot of money can be spread around more fairly, and benefit people beyond corporate farm owners.

"It would free up additional dollars that could be allocated to other programs like food stamps, rural development, and conservation programs."

The U.S. House passed a Farm Bill that expands payments to the biggest producers. Supporters of the current subsidy system say it keeps consumer prices down.

The full report is at http://www.thecommonwealthinstitute.org.

Deborah Smith/Eric Mack, Public News Service - VA