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Conner Statement on Defeat of Klobuchar Amendment to the Farm Bill
December 13, 2007
Washington, DC – "I am disappointed that the Senate defeated Senator Klobuchar's amendment that would have helped bring reform to the farm program. I have talked with farmers all across America, and most do not support a policy that takes tax dollars from middle income America and transfers it to the nations wealthiest few," said Acting Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Conner.
"The Administration has consistently supported lowering the Adjusted Gross Income eligibility for commodity programs, and although this amendment does not go as far as our proposal in advancing reform, it clearly was a step in the right direction. Its defeat signals yet another missed opportunity by the Senate to enact true reform," said Conner.
"The current farm bill is flawed, and continues to award the wealthiest two percent of Americans with support payments. The Klobuchar amendment would have been a good start in reforming this policy, and it is unfortunate that the Senate failed to enact this much needed reform," added Conner.
The Klobuchar amendment would create a more stringent Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) test for eligibility for commodity programs. Under this amendment, a full time farmer would have to have an AGI below $750,000, while a part-time farmer would need an AGI below $250,000 to qualify for program benefits. The AGI limitation for conservation programs would remain unchanged from the underlying bill, and savings attributed to the lower AGI threshold would be devoted to increases in spending for beginning farmers, rural broadband grants, energy, conservation and research.