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Salazar and Others Torpedo Mega-Farm Subsidy Cap

December 17, 2007

Washington, DC - The U.S. Senate has finally passed a new farm bill, in the eleventh hour of its 2007 session. However, a provision to help family farmers by limiting the amounts of subsidies paid to mega-farmers didn't make the final cut.

Chuck Hassebrook with the Center for Rural Affairs says that's leaving many rural communities with a 'sinking feeling.' He believes the failed Dorgan-Grassley Amendment would have been good news for the vast majority of Colorado farmers.

"What it did was end the process of subsidizing the destruction of family farming by subsidizing mega-farms, to drive everyone else out."

A number of Southern senators had opposed the caps, but the key votes came from right here in our neighborhood, says Hassebrook.

"The Southerners did oppose it, but the key votes that killed a more family farm-friendly, and more rural community-friendly, farm bill came from Great Plains and Midwestern senators, in particular (Colorado) Senator Ken Salazar. Being a leader requires standing up to represent the good of all of rural America and all of agriculture, rather than caving in to the selfish few."

Hassebrook is especially disappointed because he says one of Salazar's campaign promises was to cap payments to mega-farms. Salazar has said the subsidies are an important safety net for Colorado farmers and ranchers.

Eric Mack/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - CO