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USDA Offers Farm Bill Guidance

The USDA cannot decide on what is in a farm bill, but they can offer guidance and council. In that spirit, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the Farm Bill and Legislative Principles for 2018 at a town hall in Pennsylvania.

Perdue says in a statement, “These principles will be used as a road map–they are our way of letting Congress know what we’ve heard from the hard-working men and women of American agriculture."

That includes improving trade competitiveness in foreign ag markets, supporting food and nutrition for those in need, safeguarding the domestic food supply, and protecting public health from food borne illness.

When it comes to farm production, Perdue supports a safety net that continues to help farmers as well as encouraging entry to farming from young or underrepresented farmers.

Both of those are priorities to Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley as well. In his weekly press conference, he thinks that would be helped by some farm payment caps.

Grassley says, "I want payment limits, not only to save taxpayers money. I want farmers to get as big as they want to get, but over a certain size, and that's where the payment cap comes into the situation. We shouldn't subsidize big farmers getting bigger, because it's unfair to the young farmer and the cash renter."

Grassley has been pushing for some payment caps since the farm bills in the 90s.

He also says other priorities for the farm bill should be changing Conservation Reserve Program payments and prioritizing those funds for fragile land.

You can read the full Farm Bill and Legislative Principles for 2018 here: https://www.usda.gov/sites/default/files/documents/2018-farm-bill-and-legislative-principles.pdf