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Farm Bill Showdown – Will Subsidies Come Down to Earth?

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November 7, 2007

Columbus, OH – Ohio farmers are closely watching the U.S. Senate this week, with a vote expected on the new Farm Bill. Commodity subsidies are among the top issues, and a likely amendment would set a limit on the size of payments made to individual farms. Joe Logan with the Ohio Farmers Union says current commodity payments distort the market, and create an uneven playing field for the state's family farmers.

"The majority of payments go to the larger farmers. That is something that we really need to fix."

Logan believes money used for commodity payments would be better spent on developing and promoting crops for biofuels. He says that would provide a good alternative for farmers when crops like corn, soybeans, and wheat are being overproduced, and bringing in low prices.

Logan says another priority is a "safety net" for farmers, to provide assistance when disasters such as floods, droughts, and fires wipe out a big part of a season's crops.

"We have proposed a Permanent Disaster Provision, because even after a farmer has done everything right, when disaster strikes, they stand to get nothing in return."

Other priorities Ohio farmers are keeping an eye on in this week's debate include country-of-origin labeling for foods, and greater investment in farmland conservation programs.

Rob Ferrett/Eric Mack, Public News Service - OH