Farm Bill would expand eligibility for subsidy payments, favor large farms

The House Ag Committee’s proposed Farm Bill would expand the eligibility of pass-through entities, like LLCs or S corporations, for subsidy payments.

Paul Wolfe, a senior policy specialist with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, says the draft bill would undo a single $125,000 payment limit for these entities and benefit large farms.

“This farm bill basically wipes all that out by allowing corporations, if you’re an LLC or S corporation, to now get multiple payments limits,” he says. “The $125,000 limit would be gone so you could get multiple millions of dollars.”

He tells Brownfield it would also allow farmers to enroll cousins and extended family for commodity payments.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley has been a long-time proponent of payment limitations. He says the proposed changes would be devastating for beginning farmers.

“Providing additional assistance in excess of the hundreds of thousands of dollars that established farmers are already eligible for at the expense of young farmers will be the future of rural America and that happens to be very wrong from my point of view,” he says.

Wolfe says the coalition would like the committee and Congress to keep the limitations that are in the 2014 Farm Bill. As it stands, a farmer or legal entity with an average adjusted gross income of more than $900,000 is ineligible for commodity or conservation payments.

House Ag Committee will mark up the farm bill on April 18.

Audio: Paul Wolfe, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition 

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