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Senate Proceeding on Dec 12th, 2007 :: 7:58:49 to 8:15:16
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Johnny Isakson

7:55:59 to 7:58:49( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Johnny Isakson

Johnny Isakson

7:58:36 to 7:58:49( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: i thank my colleagues from louisiana, alabama, arkansas, and georgia, for stepping up and making a lot of common sense in their comments here tonight. and all of us are very appreciative of the work that

Saxby Chambliss

7:58:49 to 7:58:59( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: senator dorgan and senator grassley have done over the years in this body. they've both been very supportive of agriculture. and i particularly am appreciative of that as a ranking member. i've

Saxby Chambliss

7:58:49 to 8:15:16( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Saxby Chambliss

Saxby Chambliss

7:58:59 to 7:59:14( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: been to iowa. i know the kind of farming they do in iowa it is different than the farming we do in georgia. i've been to north dakota, i've seen the way that their farms operate in north dakota. it's different

Saxby Chambliss

7:59:14 to 7:59:27( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: from the way that we operate in the southeast. and there are reasons policies have to be different for different sections of the country. what i want to talk for a minute about this claim that all of these

Saxby Chambliss

7:59:27 to 7:59:43( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: farmers that are getting these payments are big farmers. the proponents of the dorgan-grassley amendment claim that 10% of the farmers are getting 70% to 80% of the program payments. they characterize these

Saxby Chambliss

7:59:43 to 7:59:56( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: farmers as mega farmers and corporate farmers. both senator grassley and senator dorgan talk about mega farmers and corporate farmers as opposed to family farmers they want to assist with the programs.

Saxby Chambliss

7:59:56 to 8:00:11( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: i want to explain that the farmers in the states of all of my colleagues fall within this 10% category and they are ordinary farmers with average-sized operations, they have families to support and they're

Saxby Chambliss

8:00:11 to 8:00:27( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: a vital opponent of rural communities. and, most of all, those 10% feed this country. i want to make it very clear, particularly those who are considering supporting dorgan-grassley, why an overwhelming

Saxby Chambliss

8:00:27 to 8:00:43( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: majority of the farmers in your state would fit within the category of being in the top 10% of payment recipients. in order to compare apples to apples, i asked usda to provide me with the at beution

Saxby Chambliss

8:00:43 to 8:01:01( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: data -- atribeution data for the 2005 payments. i asked for the data in a form to reflect what the universe of pay res would look like -- payees would look like based on the committee supported

Saxby Chambliss

8:01:01 to 8:01:15( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: bill which requires direct attribution the data from usda is pretty interesting, it provides clarity to the size of the farming operations that comprise the top recipients. in 2005 if a farmer received one

Saxby Chambliss

8:01:15 to 8:01:33( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: penny more than $10,000 in direct payments they would have been considered to fit within the largest 12% of producer recipients in this country, exactly the category that senator grassley just

Saxby Chambliss

8:01:33 to 8:01:50( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: referred to. some of you might ask, how many acres does a farmer have to farm to reach $10,000?~ the facts don't support the claim that they are megafarmers. according to data, direct payments average

Saxby Chambliss

8:01:50 to 8:02:05( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: ed $23.02 per acre nationally, which means that if a farmer has 511 base acres, they reach the $10,000 level. you'll be honest with you. maybe it's a good bit different in the southeast from it is

Saxby Chambliss

8:02:05 to 8:02:16( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: -- the way it is in the midwest. but you try to farm 500 acres in the southeast and feed a family of four, you simply can't do it. in areas where covered commodities are produced, there are few farmers

Saxby Chambliss

8:02:16 to 8:02:31( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: that would consider themselves anything but a small farmer with this amount of acreage. yet the critics aren't interested in telling you that these small farmers fit within the category that senator

Saxby Chambliss

8:02:31 to 8:02:47( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: grassley just reference ed on the floor recently when he claimed that we have 10% of the large farmers in america getting 70% to 80% of all the money. to better understand how so many typical farmers

Saxby Chambliss

8:02:47 to 8:03:06( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: fall within the small percentage of payment beneficiaries, you must understand the entire universe of program participants. if one operate or rents seven separate tracks from seven separate landowners on

Saxby Chambliss

8:03:06 to 8:03:21( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: a 75%/25% crop share arrangement, we end up with eight individuals receiving program benefits, one operate and seven landowners. each of these eight individuals count as a program recipient. but since

Saxby Chambliss

8:03:21 to 8:03:36( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: the operate or is on a 7 75%-25% crop share arrangement, he or she ends up with 75% of the acres and production while all seven landowners account for 25% of the acres and production on their respective

Saxby Chambliss

8:03:36 to 8:03:50( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: farm. or another way to look at it: the individual operate or accounts for 75% of the program payments but only 12% of the universe of individuals represented in that scenario. and i fail to see why

Saxby Chambliss

8:03:50 to 8:04:02( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: this is being represented as ina inappropriate or unfair. it's only logical that the operate certificate a program recipient that accounts for 75% of the acres in production receive more than any of the

Saxby Chambliss

8:04:02 to 8:04:19( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: other seven individual landowners who each account for only 25% proliferate acres and production on their respective farm. this simply reflects that the one individual operate or receives payments

Saxby Chambliss

8:04:19 to 8:04:30( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: in a higher proportion than the other seven individuals due to his level of production and risk. now, mr. president, there has been conversation and statements made here tonight about the fact that

Saxby Chambliss

8:04:30 to 8:04:47( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: we didn't really make real reforms. well, let me tell you where the guts of the difference is between the grassley-dorgan proposal and the underlying bill bill. the guts of the difference is in what

Saxby Chambliss

8:04:47 to 8:05:07( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: we call the definition of an actively engage ed farmer. under current law and under the bill that is -- under the language in the base bill, individuals or entities must furnish a significant contribution

Saxby Chambliss

8:05:07 to 8:05:23( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: of capital or equipment or land and personal labor or active personal management in order to be actively engage ed in farming. so a farmer who qualifies for payments must put at risk money, he must furnish

Saxby Chambliss

8:05:23 to 8:05:39( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: land, he must furnish equipment or he has to be directly involved in the management of the operation. under the grassley-dorgan amendment, that definition is change ed so that an individual to be considered

Saxby Chambliss

8:05:39 to 8:05:51( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: actively engage ed in farming, they must furnish a significant contribution of capital or equipment or land and personal labor and actively active person personal management. so, what that means is that

Saxby Chambliss

8:05:51 to 8:06:02( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: any young farmer, as senator grassley referred to, has a difficult time getting into the farming business nowadays, if he wants to come in and start farm farming, that young farmer in order to qualify

Saxby Chambliss

8:06:02 to 8:06:14( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: for payments -- and, remember, this is the guy that's going to be out there driving the tractor, this is the guy that's going to be getting dirt under his fingernails -- he's got to come up with money,

Saxby Chambliss

8:06:14 to 8:06:29( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: he's got come up with equipment, or he's got to come up with land and he's got to be the guy that's making all the decisions on the ground out there. he can't have anybody helping him with it, so

Saxby Chambliss

8:06:29 to 8:06:44( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: to speak, who gets payments that helps that young man along. and who's going to be -- which young farmer in america today can step right out of school or step right out of high hool or college, for

Saxby Chambliss

8:06:44 to 8:06:57( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: that matter, and who has the ability to come up with capital, who can come up with a $250 combine, who can come up with a $150,000 tractor, who can come up with even a use ed planner who's going

Saxby Chambliss

8:06:57 to 8:07:12( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: to cost of living several thousand dollars, who has the ability to do that? well, the arrangement that we have that is available to a young farmer under the base bill and under current law is that

Saxby Chambliss

8:07:12 to 8:07:26( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: when a young man pour a young woman wants to get involved in farming, a lost time it's with their family, sometime it's without, that they have the ability now to enter into a crop share who are a landlord-tenant

Saxby Chambliss

8:07:26 to 8:07:42( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: arrangement with a landowner who oftentimes is in the retiring years of wanting to slow down his farming operation or maybe completely get out of it and let someone else get into it. but if he has --

Saxby Chambliss

8:07:42 to 8:07:58( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: he has land, he has equipment, that he's willing to put into the partnership of a tenant -- landlord-tenant arrangement, then that young farmer has an opportunity today that he simply would not have

Saxby Chambliss

8:07:58 to 8:08:14( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: if the dorgan-grassley amendment passes. it's pure and simple. so, mr. president, when we say that we're going to be taking care of young farmers by putting a $250,000 cap on the payment limits that

Saxby Chambliss

8:08:14 to 8:08:29( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: any farmer can receive and thereby we're going to allow young farmers to come into an agricultural operation, we're kidding ourselves and we're not being straightforward because that simply is not giving

Saxby Chambliss

8:08:29 to 8:08:43( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: that young farmer any additional advantage. now, there's conversation about abuses of the program, and that a lot of people who are not farmers, they may live in los angeles or may live in washington

Saxby Chambliss

8:08:43 to 8:08:58( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: or they may live in new york getting payments. that's true. i mean, i -- this is my third farm bill. i have tried in every farm bill to try to make sure that that young man that we talked about who

Saxby Chambliss

8:08:58 to 8:09:10( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: is getting dirt under his fingernails whether it is a a young farmer for an older farmer gets the benefit -- and i emphasize that -- the benefit of these safety net programs and we've sought do that

Saxby Chambliss

8:09:10 to 8:09:26( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: again. we modified the language in this bill. for example, senator dorgan has referred to with a we commonly -- what we commonly call the cowboy starter kit, where we have base acres on a piece of farmland

Saxby Chambliss

8:09:26 to 8:09:39( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: that all of a sudden is turned into a subdivision or into development of some sort and payments are made on those base acres. well, we have taken those base acres out of eligibility for farmayments with

Saxby Chambliss

8:09:39 to 8:09:57( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: language we have directly put into the bill because what we say is that in order for base acres to qualify, a farmer has to use the land on the farm in a quantity equal to the attribute able base

Saxby Chambliss

8:09:57 to 8:10:15( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: acres for the farm and any base acres for peanuts for the farm under part 3 for an agricultural or conserving use and not for a non nonagricultural, commercial, industrial, or residential use. so when we talk about

Saxby Chambliss

8:10:15 to 8:10:27( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: the ability of somebody to own base acres and to take that land and develop it or maybe carve a 10- 10-acre tract out of there and still get payments on those base acres, you're going not not going

Saxby Chambliss

8:10:27 to 8:10:40( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: to be able to do that. i had a dialogue with senator nelson and salazar relative to an amendment which they had designed to prevent commodity program payments on land that is no longer a farming operation

Saxby Chambliss

8:10:40 to 8:10:53( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: or use ed in conjunction with a farm farming operation. we have agreed to accept that -- some additional language relative to the amendment that they proposed and we took in the committee. the amendment

Saxby Chambliss

8:10:53 to 8:11:07( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: requires the secretary to reduce base acres for covered commodities for land that has been developed for commercial or industrial use unless the producer demonstrates that the land remains devote ed

Saxby Chambliss

8:11:07 to 8:11:21( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: exclusively to agricultural production or for land that has been subdivided and developed for multiple residential units units or other nonfarming uses unless demonstrates that the land remains

Saxby Chambliss

8:11:21 to 8:11:33( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: devote ed exclusively to agricultural production. so, we are taking the ability of a commercial developer -- we are taking the ability away from a commercial developer to ever get any farm payment payments

Saxby Chambliss

8:11:33 to 8:11:47( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: and i don't know who these particular individuals are that have been referred to as the examples of who ought not to get payments that has gotten payments. but i do recognize that there have been

Saxby Chambliss

8:11:47 to 8:12:01( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: abuses and we have sought to correct that. we have sought to correct and we are going to make sure that any payments that go on base acres under the bill go to a farmer -- or go to an individual who

Saxby Chambliss

8:12:01 to 8:12:13( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: is use ing that land for agricultural purposes and not for any commercial development or residential development purposes purposes. are we going to cure all the problems? look, i wish i thought we could.

Saxby Chambliss

8:12:13 to 8:12:27( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: i know with any program that's of this size that there's going to be some abuse somewhere along the way. we don't have a federal program in place today tha is not being abus and that you can't single one

Saxby Chambliss

8:12:27 to 8:12:41( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: or two or ten individuals out, particularly wre we have an expenditure of billions and billions of dollars. but we are certainly doing our best to address the issue, to try to correct the abuses that

Saxby Chambliss

8:12:41 to 8:12:55( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: have taken place, and in this particular instance, we truly have made real reforms that i think are going to close every loophole that we know is out there today when it comes to making sure that

Saxby Chambliss

8:12:55 to 8:13:10( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: payments go to folks who deserve the payments and that the payments are at a level that's reasonable when it comes to making sure that we have a close watch on the taxpayer dollar. i want to close this

Saxby Chambliss

8:13:10 to 8:13:29( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: portion of my comments just by saying that we will detail, as senator lincoln said earlier, we'll de detail some of the specific re reforms, but i want to highlight one. i was involved in the writing of the

Saxby Chambliss

8:13:29 to 8:13:47( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: 1996 farm bill, as was senator grassley, as was senator lincoln. and in that farm bill, which was enacted five years ago, we had a payment limit cap of $450,000. in the last five years, from 200

Saxby Chambliss

8:13:47 to 8:14:05( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: 2002 to the language that's included in the base bill that we're talking about today, we have reduced that $450,000 down to $100,000. now, that's a $350,000 reform. senator grassley takes it up to $250,000,

Saxby Chambliss

8:14:05 to 8:14:20( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: but that's not apples and apples. but the fact is, we have made real reforms in just the dollar amount that folks are eligible to receive from $450,000 down to $100,000, and we've also made other

Saxby Chambliss

8:14:20 to 8:14:41( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: significant changes, such as eligibles of three-entity as well as the requiring of attribution to every farmer in america who is a heys going who's going to be receiving payments under this farm

Saxby Chambliss

8:14:41 to 8:15:16( Edit History Discussion )

Saxby Chambliss: bill w that, mr. president, i will reserve the balance of our time. the presiding officer: who yields time? mr. chambliss: mr. president, i would ask unanimous consent that the pending second-degree to

Chuck Grassley

8:15:16 to 8:15:35( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: the gregg amendment 3673 be withdrawn. the presiding officer: without objection. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: and i would do it for the sole purpose of commenting on a couple

Chuck Grassley

8:15:16 to 8:20:12( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Chuck Grassley

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