A U.S. Senate bill proposed Thursday aims to create a “hard cap” of $250,000 in total commodity support for any farm operation while eliminating loopholes and tightening definitions.
With the farm bill looming, Midwestern Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) proposed a requirement that beneficiaries of the system spend at least 50 percent of each year engaged in farm labor or management.
Currently, just 10 percent of farm operations receive 70 percent of all yearly farm payment subsidies. The proposed Farm Program Integrity Act flips the narrative, setting a maximum commodity payment of $125,000 per person and $250,000 per farm per year. It also requires each recipient to perform a minimum of 1,000 hours of labor and management annually.
“It isn’t right to send bloated farm payments to people who are more familiar with an office chair than a tractor seat,” Grassley said. “This bill brings honesty to the farm payment system and prioritizes farming families over mega-farms. Hard-earned tax dollars should only be sent to hard-working farmers — those with calluses on their hands and dirt under their fingernails.”
The act is reminiscent of a Trump-era exemption for family-run farms. The regulation required that the people applying for subsidies work at least 500 hours on actively managing the farm or complete 25 percent of management work in a year in order to collect subsidies.
“At a time when work requirements have been debated at length with respect to food assistance for food-insecure Americans, it is time for an honest discussion about targeting farm commodity payments to working family farmers,” reads a summary of the proposed bill. “The 2023 farm bill should adopt strong, effective, and loophole-free payment limits. The Farm Program Integrity Act provides the roadmap for achieving this important farm policy objective.”