Lawmakers craft new farm subsidy program
WASHINGTON — Farm-state lawmakers are moving to create a whole new subsidy that would protect farmers when their revenue drops, an unprecedented program that critics say could pay billions of dollars to farmers now enjoying record-high crop prices.
The subsidy, free insurance that would cover farmers' "shallow crop losses" before their paid insurance kicks in, has been pushed by corn and soybean farmers who could benefit the most from the program. It would replace for the most part several other subsidy programs, including direct payments preferred by Southern rice and cotton farmers.
The lawmakers are looking at folding the new subsidy into a farm bill proposal they are crafting as part of their charge by the deficit-cutting congressional supercommittee to cut farm spending.
The four lawmakers — Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.; Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas; House Agriculture Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla. and Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn. — have said they will shave $23 billion from farm and food aid programs over the next decade.