In his weekly conference call with farm reporters on December 4, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley said the farm bill that is being considered has become worse compared to previous versions. It does not include his language to limit subsidy payments to people who work on farms.
The farm bill is expected to pass next week.
Grassley was asked if an opportunity still existed to include his language in the bill.
“They aren’t including it, and remember I voted against it in 2014 because they obliterated the good language I got through both the House and the Senate,” Grassley said. “This is even worse. Does that mean I’m going to vote against the bill? I guess I’m still cogitating on that issue.”
He was asked about his proposal of one manager per farm and if he had received any indication if some of the proposals from Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-TX) will be accepted. Conaway is the chair of the House Agriculture Committee.
“I believe that they have worsened existing law and where does this end?” Grassley asked. “Are you going to have your third cousin collect farm payments because he happens to be a Wall Street banker, not fully engaged?
“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 who are entitled to some protection from the federal government,” he continued. “Giving all this money to people that aren’t farmers is going to just jeopardize popular support for helping the family farmer.”
Grassley was also asked what factors would cause him to vote for the bill even though his language on curtailing subsidy payments is not included.
“Five-year certainty, the anxiety that farmers have now because of the trade issues that the president has brought up,” he said. “I think those two reasons would be overriding.
“At this point I’m not saying they’re overriding but they would be reasons to override the great disappointment I have for Roberts (Se. Pat Roberts, chair of the Senate Ag Committee) caving in on this issue.”
Grassley said his staff is studying the payment limits that are part of the proposed farm bill.
“It is my understanding that it’s worse than what it was in the 2014 farm bill,” he added.
“It just shows you how ridiculous the position of southern farmers have become, and when you start talking about nieces and nephews, I can see in the 2023 farm bill that you’re going to have third cousins included,” Grassley said.