June 14,2004

Grassley Announces Hearing on Federal Farm Program Payments

Hearing: Farm Payments for Far-away Proprietors: Strengthening Regulations and Oversight to Better Ensure Agriculture Financing Integrity
Date: Wednesday, June 16, 2004
Time: 11 a.m. ET
Location: 215 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.

Description: Farmers receive approximately $15 billion annually in federal farm program payments. After concerns of farm payments going to those not involved in farming,Congress passed the Farm Program Payments Integrity Act of 1987 to limit paymentsto individuals and entities that are actively engaged in farming.

As federal farm payments continue to inch upward, support for the safety net isspiraling downward. Grassley asked the General Accounting Office to evaluate theU.S. Department of Agriculture's effectiveness at limiting payments, to assess theAgriculture Department's oversight, and to summarize the distribution of farmpayments by entity. The GAO report will be released at the hearing.

Grassley has long been an advocate for limiting federal farm payments. During thebudget debates of the last two years, Grassley sponsored legislation to limit farmpayments. During the farm bill debate in the 107th Congress, Grassley sponsored abipartisan amendment that passed the Senate 66 to 31. Grassley said that amendmentwas critical to family farmers in Iowa and when the farm bill failed to effectivelyaddress this issue, Iowa was hurt.

It's expected that representatives of the General Accounting Office and theDepartment of Agriculture will testify. A final witness list will be released at a latertime.