House Passes 10-Acre Rule Suspension
Posted: Monday, September 29, 2008 11:28 am
WASHINGTON (Sept. 24, 2008) – The U.S. House of Representatives today passed legislation to temporarily suspend a provision in the 2008 Farm Bill that would have prohibited producers from receiving commodity payments if they have less than 10 base acres.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) informed producers they would not be allowed to aggregate acreages in order to establish total farm base acres to exceed the 10-acre limitation, despite Congress including clear language within the farm bill allowing aggregation.
"USDA’s interpretation of the 10-acre provision was in direct contrast to what Congress intended in the 2008 Farm Bill," NFU President Tom Buis said. "This move is necessary to ensure those who qualify to participate in farm programs are allowed to do so."
Recognizing the potential problems with USDA’s interpretation, the NFU board of directors called on USDA Secretary Schafer three weeks ago to reverse the department’s position on the 10-acre provision.
A bipartisan group of Senators, led by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, have introduced similar language. Buis urged the Senate to act quickly and send the fix to the president.