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Senate Urged to 'Just Say Nay' to Farm Bill

May 15, 2008

Des Moines, IA – It's been a long time coming, but farm advocates say the new U.S. Farm Bill wasn't worth the wait, and more work must be done on it. Nonetheless, the U.S. Senate plans to vote on the much-delayed legislation today, after it was approved on Wednesday in the U.S. House.

Chuck Hassebrook, executive director of the Center for Rural Affairs, sees the bill in its current form as "a five-year commitment to the further destruction of family farms and rural Iowa," through continued high subsidy payments to mega-farms. Hassebrook is urging President Bush to stick to his pledge to veto the bill once it reaches his desk.

"This bill fails to invest in the future of rural America adequately through rural development, and we can't afford another five years of failing to invest in our future. The bill needs to be vetoed, because it seems the only way to stop Congress from acting irresponsibly is to not let it stand."

Backers of the legislation argue that it does rein in farm payments, but Hassebrook counters with a recent analysis of recipients in seven midwestern states, including Iowa. The Center's research has found that only one mega-farmer in each state would face a cut in direct payments. The president has said the bill costs too much, and also wants farm subsidies to be trimmed further.

The Center's analysis of payment recipients can be found online at www.cfra.org.

Dick Layman/Don Mathisen, Public News Service - IA