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‘Deal or No Deal’ - Farm Bill Deal Ensures Millions for Mega-farms

October 19, 2007

Fargo, ND – North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, has announced a deal to move the Senate's version of the new U.S. Farm Bill out of committee next week. However, the agreement includes a farm payment limitation that Chuck Hassebrook, with the Center for Rural Affairs, says does nothing to stop multi-million dollar payments to the nation's biggest farms.

"It will ensure that the vast majority of mega-farms face no reduction in payments. They will continue to get their full subsidies to drive family-sized farms out of business."

Backers of the proposal claim it will protect farmers in the long run, but Hassebrook feels it leaves gigantic loopholes for mega-farmers to use.

"The problem is that closing loopholes is kind of like closing gates; if you close one gate but leave four open, the hogs still get into the trough."

Hassebrook says Senator Conrad and others on the Senate Agriculture Committee may have won a little bit more for commodity farmers, but the deal means the Senate's version of the Farm Bill still favors the largest farmers over smaller operations.

Dick Layman/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - ND