WASHINGTON — Reports that the compromise Farm Bill loosens restrictions on farm program payment eligibility are raising the ire of Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley.
Grassley says Farm Bill negotiators have apparently adopted House provisions making it easier for nieces, nephews and cousins of farmers to become eligible for farm payments. “I believe that they have worsened existing law,” Grassley said. “Where does this end? Are you going to have your third-cousin collect farm payments because he happens to be a Wall Street banker?”
Grassley is also upset that his provision to tighten payment limits was left out of the bill. “This is how far out of control the waste of taxpayers’ money has gone and the injustice it does to the family farmers – that have dirt under their fingernails and are entitled to some protection from the federal government,” Grassley said. “Giving all this money to people who aren’t farmers is going to just jeopardize popular support for helping the family farmer.”
Grassley voted against the 2014 Farm Bill because those payment limitations were dropped from the final version. He told ag reporters in a conference call this week that he hasn’t made up his mind whether to oppose this Farm Bill.