Direct farm subsidies are out, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) says. Durbin told members of the Illinois Farm Bureau at their meeting in Chicago that payments to farmers irrespective of need will not be included in a farm bill when the government is cutting back.
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He reiterated his position to reporters: “Sending farmers who are making more money than they ever have in history federal subsidy checks is indefensible,” he said. “They know it. I know it.” The federal government spends $20 billion on farm payments. Illinois is the No. 2 state for recipients at $454 million. Rod Weinzierl, executive director of the Illinois Corn Growers Association, says he knows it, but says farmers still need stability in a volatile industry so that they can stay in business from one year to the next, but a way can be found that doesn’t pinch the taxpayers. The last farm program was enacted in 2008. Negotiations on a 2012 farm bill have been pushed into next year.