USDA Secretary Ed Schafer blasted the 2008 Farm Bill terming it “reckless spending” and “bloated.” Calling the Congress-approved bill  “earmark laden,” Schafer estimates it “spends nearly $20 billion over its original cost.”

"The bill passed today is a farm bill in name only," Schafer said. "It does not target help for the farmers who really need it, and it increases the size and cost of government while jeopardizing the future of legitimate farm programs by damaging the credibility of farm bills in general. At a time of record setting income for farmers, it sends the wrong message to the rest of the country who are not experiencing the boom of the agriculture sector. This bill is loaded with taxpayer funded pet projects at a time when Americans are struggling to buy groceries and afford gas to get to work."

An indignant Schafer called the bill “trade distorting” and cited massive earmarks the bill carries such as “the $170 million for the salmon fishermen on the West Coast, or $250 million for a single entity land buy in Montana.”

"Reckless spending like this is not what farm bills should be about. Congress had a real chance to implement reform and strengthen farm programs for the next decade. Instead, they decided to spend billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars to grow government and invest in the tired status quo.”

Source: USDA