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"Sen. Chuck Grassley said today that he would renew his push to limit eligibility for farm payments by cutting off family members who aren't "actively engaged" in the business — a term recently redefined by the USDA. "I do believe that at some point, farms are big enough and shouldn’t be able to have unlimited subsidies," Grassley, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, told reporters during a conference call. The Iowa Republican referenced a USDA Economic Research Service report published last week that analyzed how a growing portion of subsidies are flowing to the largest and wealthiest operations as a result of consolidation in agricultural production. Grassley recounted how top agriculture lawmakers in the House and Senate, when conferencing the 2014 farm bill, watered down his original amendment by exempting family farms from USDA rules tightening the definition of "actively engaged." About 97 percent of farms in the country are family owned. Grassley will push for family farms to be covered by the USDA regulation, which, among other provisions, limits to three the number of managers who can qualify for subsidies. He said he would deliver a speech on the Senate floor to educate other members about the issue. He also noted that the Agriculture Committee had not yet started drafting the 2018 farm bill and did not specify when it would be."

Posted December 5th, 2017
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