The Committee on Agriculture approved a bill that protects thousands of farmers from being denied farm program benefits. The bill stems from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's flawed interpretation of a provision in the farm bill that required farmers to have a minimum of 10-base acres to receive commodity program payments. USDA would not have allowed farmers to aggregate base acres from multiple working farms.
"The intent of this provision in the farm bill was always to allow for aggregation. USDA decided to interpret that provision differently, which forced us to pass further legislation to make sure this intent cannot be misconstrued," said Congressman Bob Goodlatte, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Agriculture.
The Committee passed H.R. 6849 along with a newly introduced amendment that suspends the 10-base acre minimum for the 2008 and 2009 crop years. Congressman Goodlatte made the procedural motion to send the bill to the full House of Representatives for consideration.
"This is a growing concern throughout the country, specifically in Virginia. I support this bill and I urge my colleagues to support it because it protects the livelihood of thousands of farmers who would be adversely affected by the USDA's interpretation of a specific provision in the farm bill," said Congressman Goodlatte.