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

Friday, July 08, 2005

Action Alert - Farm Program Payment Limits

- from the desk of Kathie Starkweather, Center for Rural Affairs

Action Alert - Payment Limits and Federal Budget Action Alert

Act Now for Rural America.

Your Voice is Crucial.

Congress will decide in September how to cut $3 billion in USDAspending. It could kill important community and small business development initiatives, slash soil and water conservation programs,and cut payments to small and medium-size farms.

Or it could preserve funding for critical programs and instead savemoney through long needed reforms that cap subsidies to mega farms.

The outcome is in part in our hands. It is a crucial time for citizens to make their voices heard. This is a moment when grassrootscalls and action can have a huge impact. Members of Congress are nowconsidering their options. And they will be home in August touringtheir districts and hearing from constituents.

Tell them to protect funding for programs that offer a futureto rural America – small business development, community development,conservation, and family farm programs. Tell them to cut spendinginstead by capping payments to mega farms.

Agriculture Committee Members Are Key

If your state is represented by one of the key decision makers,you are in a particularly strong position to influence the outcome.The key decision makers are members of the agricultural committees.

Find Senate agriculture committee members:

Find House agriculture committee members:

Budget Committee Chairs Jim Nussle of Iowa and Judd Greg of New Hampshire and Representative Dennis Hastert of Illinois and Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee are also influential.

What You Can Do:
1. Call or write you representatives in Congress. Dial the capitol switchboard at 202. 224.3121 and ask for their offices.
Find your senators and representatives:

Once transferred to the right office, leave a message with thereceptionist. Tell them to protect funding for programs that offera future to rural America – small business development, communitydevelopment, conservation, and family farm programs. Tell them tocut spending instead by capping payments to mega farms.

2. Share this alert with people you know who might be interested. Let us know who you give it to so we can let them know how it turns out by emailing Chuck hassebrook,

3. Seize other opportunities to get involved. Letters to the editorcan be very influential. For help preparing one, contact KathieStarkweather at 402.687.2103 x 1014 or Watch thenews or check the website of your representative to find out when she or he will be in your area – especially during the August congressional recess. Attend and repeat the message above.

If you have questions, contact Kathie at Thank you for your support!

Background Information:

Key points:
- Congress has to cut $3 billion from agricultural programs. It needs to cut smart by capping payments to mega farms.
- The single most effective thing Congress could do to strengthenfamily farms is to stop subsidizing mega farms to drive smalleroperations out of business by adopting Senator Grassley’s proposalto cap payments.
- The nation's family farms need to be strengthened by capping payments to mega farms.
Capping payments to mega farms protects funding for programs thatoffer a future to rural America – specifically small business development, value added agriculture, community development, conservation, and family farm programs.

Read the Center's oped on the federal budget.


  • At 9:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    If we could find out where this money will be spent, people would be more apt to get outraged. I'm sure it will go to Halliburton or to pay for tax breaks for oil companies. Oil companies had an $80 Billion profit last year and Congress gave them $8 billion in tax breaks. Go figure!!


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