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Grassley Seeks Tighter Farm Subsidy Limits, Ernst Questions CRP

Northwest Iowa (Radio Iowa) —┬áSenator Chuck Grassley says the federal government’s “deficit problem” means it’s likely there will be new “enforceable payment limits” on farm subsidies.

Grassley says he supports a federal “farm safety net” and expects crop insurance subsidies to be part of the next Farm Bill, but Grassley has been a frequent critic of sending those payments to wealthy landowners who aren’t actively engaged in the farm operation.

Grassley’s gunning to limit payments to large-scale farm operations, too.

Grassley and Joni Ernst — Iowa’s other U.S. Senator — both serve on the Senate Ag Committee. Ernst and Grassley say their top priority is ensuring crop insurance subsidies are retained in the next Farm Bill. However, Ernst says the Conservation Reserve Program should be evaluated.

Farmers receive yearly “rental payments” from the federal government for acres enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program and some of the contracts last for up to 15 years. The program was designed to take “environmentally sensitive” land out of row-crop production, but Ernst says too much prime ground for corn and soybeans is being idled in the CRP.

Iowa is the only state to have both of its U.S. senators serving on the ag committee. Grassley is predicting the panel will produce a first draft of the Farm Bill by Christmas.