Senate Ag Committee Chair Tom Harkin's proposal for the 2002 Farm Bill, which suggests spending $170 billion over 10 years, is endorsed by the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and the American Soybean Association (ASA).

At press time, some Congressmen were pressing to get Farm Bill passage yet this year.

“Sen. Harkin's proposal moves toward restoring equity in farm policy,” says Lee Klein, NCGA chair. “Although the bill's payment limitation remains a serious concern for NCGA, it goes a long way to improve domestic supports and ag trade policy.”

ASA President Bart Ruth adds: “We understand from the proposal that the revenue target for soybeans of $215 per acre would provide an effective income support level of $5.70/bu.

“Combined with the direct payment, a soybean producer would have an effective safety net of $5.93/bu,” Ruth says.

The proposed program doubles conservation spending, at $4.4 billion a year compared to current spending of $2 billion/year. It keeps fixed annual payments for producers in place. And subsidies would increase for most crops. The proposal also creates a new subsidy program providing money when farmer income drops below predetermined levels: for corn, $270 an acre; soybeans, $215; wheat, $120; and cotton, $360.