The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens


Grassley criticizes southern lobbying on payment limits

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa

In a sign of the bitterness that surrounds the debate over the Senate Agriculture Committee-passed farm bill as it inches toward consideration on the floor, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, has issued a statement that southern farm lobbyists have been misleading senators in their criticism of the payment limit provisions in the bill.

“Southern farm interests are perpetuating a myth that important reforms I’ve authored for farm payment eligibility will affect what’s called the spouse rule,” Grassley said in a statement issued Friday.

"The spouse rule says if one person is determined to be ‘actively engaged’ in farming, then the spouse meets the standard as well," Grassley said. "The rule lets a farming couple qualify for two times the payment cap. Under the provision in the 2012 farm bill reported last month by the Senate Agriculture Committee, the payment cap would double from $50,000 to $100,000. The committee bill keeps current law on the spouse rule."

“What’s more, my payment limit reform doesn’t change the spouse rule in any way,” Grassley continued. “Opponents of this important reform can’t make up facts to argue against it.”

“If you’re a farmer, both you and your spouse will continue to qualify for farm payments,” Grassley said. “My reforms are designed to keep farm program payments out of the hands of doctors, lawyers, celebrities, and other non-farmers. I have been working on closing these loopholes for years. For whatever reason, some continue to argue for keeping these loopholes open. The tide is turning, though. Taxpayers and grass roots Americans are fed up with wasteful government spending, including allowing farm payments to be abused.”