Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Biden Calls for Cuts in Farm Subsidies

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Joe Biden called for a significant change in the way federal farm subsidies are distributed today at a campaign event in Des Moines.
Iowa Independent asked Biden for his views on the 2007 Farm Bill and the farm subsidy system. "I think we have to cut back farm subsidies for the agribusiness organizations," said Biden. "Small farmers are being killed in my state."

The Delaware senator continued by touting his experience with agricultural issues. "Agriculture is the biggest industry in my state," he said. "I come from the DelMarVa Peninsula. Delaware, Maryland and Virginia not the Del-New York-Connecticut Peninsula." Biden said he comes from a state where there is a $3 billion industry in agriculture, most notably in the production of broiler chickens.

Biden said that the "foremost important things in the ag bill" are an emphasis on conservation and land preservation. He then went on to say that it is important to "make sure that we cut subsidies for the agribusiness organizations, and we should limit those subsidies to a dollar amount well below what the last farm bill had."

He also noted the importance of promoting alternative biofuels in the agriculture bill.
"And I feel very good that Tom Harkin, as the chairman of the ag committee, will play a major role in determining the outcome of that bill," he said.

While Biden did not specify a dollar amount that he would support as a limit to farm subsidies, another Democrat in the race for president, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, has recently done so.
Richardson joined Sen. Barack Obama and former Sen. John Edwards in proposing a dollar figure cap on federal farm subsidies. He said he supports the Grassley-Dorgan bill, which would place a limit of $250,000 as the total amount that an individual could receive in farm subsidy payments.
"Today, two-thirds of American farmers receive no subsidies at all," said Richardson in a statement sent to Iowa Independent. "The current system too frequently supports wealthy absentee land owners and huge agri-business companies at the expense of small farmers."

Iowa Independent reported last week that Sen. Hillary Clinton, widely seen as the front-running Democrat in the race for president, is not currently supporting a specific limit on the amount that individuals or corporations can receive in farm subsidies.

No comments: