Buckeye Farm News
In a speech to a joint session of Congress, President Barack Obama said he would end direct payments to “large agribusinesses that don’t need them.”
The White House budget would phase out direct payments to farms with sales of $500,000 or more.
News outlets reported that about 126,000 farms would be affected by the proposal and that farmers could achieve $500,000 in sales with just under 900 acres of corn.
“The amount of money saved by slashing farmer safety net programs is a pittance compared to what the government has been spending on bail-outs and stimulus payments and even compared to the annual federal budget,” said Adam Sharp, OFBF senior director of legislative and regulatory policy. “If they want real budget savings, they need to target real money somewhere else beyond farm programs, which are less than one percent of the annual federal budget.”
American Farm Bureau and other farm groups recently sent a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack expressing strong and continuing support for the farm safety net after he stated direct payments would have “a very limited future,” and that farmers should start looking at other options such as generating carbon credits to address climate change as an alternative means of support.
The letter stated direct payments are the only component of the safety net currently helping every farmer with base acres to deal with steep increases in input costs, dramatic commodity market swings and increasing uncertainty in the credit markets that they rely on to keep their farms running.
“Agriculture has been one of the relatively bright spots in the U.S. economy this past year and the farm bill is a contributor to that stability,” Sharp said. “With commodity prices falling and production costs remaining high, yanking the rug out from farmers now would be a mistake.”