Here’s some reasonably heartening news from CQ.com:
The Senate is prepared to write a dramatically different farm bill than the version the House passed last week.
The Senate debate will not happen until September or later. For now, Senate Agriculture Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, has promised to increase funding for land-conservation programs far above House numbers.
The $286 billion, five-year House measure (HR 2419), which passed, 231-191, on July 27, would impose new limits on farm subsidies, increase support for fruit and vegetable growers, boost land conservation and increase funding for nutrition programs. Farmers making more than $1 million a year would not be eligible for federal assistance.
Given the tight budget for the farm bill, subsidies are likely to be Harkin’s first target. He has said he will support a proposal by Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, that would cap the amount of money a farmer can get at $250,000 a year. Currently, the cap is $360,000 a year. The House bill does not include an overall payment cap.