Farm-state senators to USDA: Implement payment limit rules
U.S. Senators Saxby Chambliss, R-GA, Ranking Republican Member on the Senate Agriculture Committee, Blanche Lincoln, D-AR, Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee Subcommittee on Production, Income Protection and Price Support, and others Feb. 9 sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack requesting the department to implement the rules and regulations pertaining to new Adjusted Gross Income and payment limit reforms to accurately reflect Congressional intent.
The Senators said in the letter that the interim rule, as published on Dec. 29, 2008, strays from congressional intent and could adversely affect American producers and farm operations throughout the country. They also reminded the Department that the 2008 farm bill does not require any changes in the way individuals or entities are determined to be "actively-engaged" in farming. Additionally, the Senators added that interjecting unnecessary changes will not only cause further confusion but also go well beyond the congressional intent.
The USDA has extended the comment period for this interim rule for 60 days, which was originally set to end on Jan. 28. The extended comment period still provides USDA with adequate time to make changes to the interim rule for the 2009 crop year. The deadline to sign up for the Direct and Counter-Cyclical Program and Average Crop Revenue Program is June 1.
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