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Report: Farm Bill Set to Sow Subsidies to Mega-Farms, Again...

February 18, 2008

Denver, CO - It's crunch time for the U.S. Farm Bill, but so far, reforms to direct payment limits would leave family farms in Colorado feeling the pinch, according to a new analysis from the Center for Rural Affairs. Report author Dan Owens says the proposed reforms would close one loophole, but leave others open.

"Of the farmers we surveyed, 99 percent would, in fact, be able to just switch to another loophole and continue to receive the mega-subsidies."

Owens says the failure to reform farm payments will hurt family wheat, corn and soy operations in Colorado, because the current system helps large-scale farms at small farms' expense. Many lawmakers are hailing the new proposal for its "historic reform" of payment limitations, but Owens argues it's all just window-dressing.

"Nothing will change, nobody will be impacted and, therefore, you just can't call it reform."

The current Farm Bill is set to expire in mid-March. Owens says the President has threatened to veto its replacement unless it contains further payment limitations. He believes legislators should look at the limits as an opportunity.

"We could save some money through this, to invest in other priorities that benefit all of rural America as well."

The Center for Rural Affairs' report is available to the public online, at www.cfra.org.

Eric Mack, Public News Service - CO