Pryor: Farm Bill Debate Shouldn't Pit South vs. Midwest

JANUARY 31, 2007 - Posted at 2:17 p.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Senator Mark Pryor says he didn't want discussion over the farm bill to devolve into a "Midwest agriculture versus Southern agriculture showdown" because of subsidies for certain crops.

The Democrat today discussed the Bush administration's farm bill proposal, which would cut spending by $18 billion.

The proposal would eliminate farm payments for wealthy farmers.  Now, farmers who earn up to $2.5 million in adjusted gross income anually are eligible.  The Bush proposal would drop that income cap to $200,000.

Pryor said that in the past, he opposed changing the income cap.

Most subsidy payments go to growers of five major crops...corn, soybeans, wheat, rice and cotton.

Johanns' proposal would cut support from loan programs and increase direct payments, especially for cotton growers.

The current farm bill, written in 2002, expires this year.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)