Amendment Caps Title I Payments at $125,000, Cutting Wasteful Government Spending on Giant Agribusinesses

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Earl Blumenauer announced plans to offer an amendment (#3) to H.R. 2112, the Fiscal 2012 Agriculture Appropriations Bill capping Title I payments at $125,000 per entity. The amendment – supported by Taxpayers for Common Sense as well as national environmental leaders – would cut wasteful government spending by more than $650 million a year.

“In an era of tight budgets, it is difficult to justify paying an individual or corporation more than $125,000 per year in taxpayer dollars simply because of the crops they choose to produce,” said Blumenauer. “This common sense amendment preserves assistance at a level that will support our family farmers and ranchers, but ends the wasteful giveaways to giant agribusinesses.”

Currently, the amount of Title I payments an entity can receive is unlimited. While the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (also known as the 2008 Farm Bill) limited the amount of direct payments an agricultural entity can receive to $40,000 annually, and limited counter cyclical payments to $65,000 annually, there are no limits on market loan payments, loan deficiency payments and commodity certificates. In addition, the payment limits that do exist can be doubled when the proprietor has a spouse. This amendment would limit the total amount that an entity can receive to $125,000 per year.

These Title I payments are not applied equally to all states or all farmers: 62 percent of farmers receive no subsidy payments at all and ten states receive more than 50 percent of the subsidy payments.  In addition, 74 percent of payments go to 10 percent of farmers – comprised almost exclusively of enormous agribusinesses.

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