Blog for Rural America

The Center for Rural Affairs, a private, non-profit organization, is working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities. Permission to reprint items from this web log is hereby granted, on the condition that clear credit is given to the original source of the material. If the blog provides information for a story, please let us know by sending an email to johnc@cfra.org.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Center to President – 'Americans are watching' on Payment Limits

-- from the desk of Russ Gifford, Director Communications & Development
Center for Rural Affairs


(LYONS, NE) "Rural Americans are watching to see whether the President and Congress are more interested in subsidizing wealthy mega farmers or investing in rural people and their communities,” said Chuck Hassebrook, executive Director of the Center for Rural Affairs.

"Cuts will be made. Either they cut mega farms or they cut family size farms, small business and rural community development programs, nutrition programs for poor kids and conservation programs.”

The Center for Rural Affairs is a rural advocacy group based in Lyons, Nebraska. Hassebrook’s statement is in response to the news reports that the Bush administration "threw in the towel" on the president's proposal to slash farm payments.

The Center contends that giving large payments to mega farms subsidizes them to drive smaller operations out of business. “Capping payments to mega farms is a win-win solution,” said Hassebrook. “It saves money and it’s the single most effective thing Congress could do to strengthen family farms.”

Some farm-state lawmakers, such as Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, see the benefit of a tough cap on subsidy payments. It would help stretch the already limited federal resources to reach more farmers, and at the same time chop away at the federal government's ballooning deficit.

"We are urging the President and the Secretary of Agriculture to stick to their guns on capping payments to mega farms," adds Hassebrook. "Rural Americans are watching."

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