Twenty-five senators have written USDA Secretary Ed Schafer concerning the implementation of the farm bill provision that eliminates producers from receiving direct, counter-cyclical or ACRES (Average Crop Revenue Election) payments on farms with 10 acres or less.

The letter is the result of USDA indicating it would not approve requests for farm combination reconstitutions of farms that have base aces of 10 acres or less if the request was received after the enactment of the farm bill which was May 22, 2008. The letter points out that it was the clear intent of Congress to allow for the aggregation of farms.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said, “USDA can’t just make up its own rules when implementing a law that is clearly written. The Department needs to follow the law and implement it as Congress intended.”

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), chairman of the Senate Ag Committee, said, “Now USDA is disallowing consolidation that simplifies its administrative task and instead is focused on a punitive policy approach. It does not make sense from a policy or practical perspective.”