Pat Westhoff of the University of Missouri told Agri-Pulse it would be a mistake to assume the bill is written in stone right now, adding that some legislators might want to change it. Roger McEowen of Iowa State University said there was no guarantee that direct payments would continue, but producers who signed up for them would have an argument that the government would have to honor those payments even if the program ends later this year.
Those who make that argument point to a 1996 Supreme Court case, United States v. Winstar Corp., about rules the government created and later repealed for failing thrift institutions during the savings-and-loan crisis in the 1980s. Three of the thrifts won damages for breach of contract.
Sign-ups for the direct and counter-cyclical payment program begin Feb. 19 through at local Farm Service Agency offices, to they a good place to work on a story about farm subsidies. (Agri-Pulse is subscription-only, but a free trial can be accessed here.)