September 17, 2014

Hoping for farm payment reform

As U.S. Senators take up the farm bill today, Margaret Krome of the Wisconsin-based Michael Fields Agricultural Institute will be watching to see if lawmakers continue to play favorites with programs for big agribusiness.

“We’d really like to see a much more equitable system and one that therefore helps to serve beginning farmers,” says Krome, referring to the bill passed by the Senate Agriculture Committee.

A long-standing concern has been farm payments which Krome says historically have gone to large farms in a disproportionate rate. As large farms have the ability mark up land prices, she says it becomes more difficult for new producers to enter the market.

Krome also says the committee version contains little oversight on conservation.

As the farming population is increasingly aging, she’s hoping the bill will be amended to properly fund programs to incentive and educate new farmers.