Lyons, Nebraska – Last night, the House and Senate farm bill conference committee sent a compromise bill back to both chambers for a final, up-or-down vote. The Conferees had been working to reconcile the farm bills passed in the two chambers last year.
“We oppose the bill as reported out of conference committee,” said Traci Bruckner, Senior Policy Associate with the Center for Rural Affairs. “The conference report stripped out bipartisan, bicameral actively engaged payment limitation reforms that passed both chambers. Moreover, it actually increases the nominal payment limits nearly threefold over current law.”
At a time of tight budgets, increasing rural poverty and growing income inequality this bill takes rural and small town America in the wrong direction. Virtually unlimited farm program payments will continue to inure to the nation’s largest and wealthiest mega-farms. Those operations will continue to drive up land prices, drive their smaller neighbors out of business and limit opportunities for beginning and family farmers, Bruckner explained.
“We urge the House to reject the bill as reported out and send it back to conference for inclusion of the payment limit provisions,” said Bruckner.
Bruckner went on to explain that as the President delivers his State of the Union address tonight, he is expected to speak to growing income inequality. But this farm bill serves as an example of legislation that drives up rural income inequality. She called up the Administration to also urge Congress to return this bill to conference and include the provisions on payment limits and closure of loopholes.
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