The four different farmers gave the bill a "D", "B-", "C-", and another "B-". That averages out to a solid "C" grade ... which does mean that overall it received a decent passing grade. But, it is also obvious that they weren't overly excited about the contents of the bill either. Let's start with the positive comments.
All four of the respondents were pleased with the changes to the Conservation Stewardship Program, which I admit is a program that I know very little about (check out the link to read more). Also, it seems like they were happy with some of the changes in the beginning farmer supports. I for one am going to look into some of those changes and see if there are any new benefits for us. Finally, a couple of the mentioned the positives of the growing "organic" segment of the bill.
The dislike portion of their responses were very interesting. They were interesting because not everyone had a huge list of dislikes, and in some cases had more positive to say than negative. But, it was also very interesting (and telling) that all four of them listed the same thing as one of their dislikes. Care to guess what that was...?
"(Dislike) The continued high subsidies for unsustainable ag production. (How will it impact your farm) The high subsidies for corn and soybeans will mean a continuation of commodity farming for most of my operation - I have to go were the profits are."I think it says a lot that these farmers (which come from slightly different backgrounds/viewpoints) all pointed to the lack of change in commodity subsidies as one of the major downfalls in this bill. I also think the first quote above says a lot about our agricultural industry. I'm not quite sure where I would grade the 2008 Farm Bill, but I suppose I would call it average ... for now.
"It is frustrating that Congress again failed to pass commodity payment limitation reform in this Farm Bill."
"As far as commodity programs, they failed to put limits on payments."
"The lack of reform in the commodity subsidy program was discouraging."