Conservative Art Halvorson has been outspoken about his opposition to the recently House-passed farm bill; he’s been less outspoken about his own farms’ subsidies.
“This farm bill is total deception. It’s 80% food stamps,” Halvorson said. “And they still call it a farm bill and that’s what I found offensive as a farmer.”
Halvorson owns two farms, one in Pennsylvania and one in Iowa.
Some of his land was enrolled in a subsidy called the Conservation Reserve Program. This entails a 10-15 year contract with the owner of the land not to produce on it. The program is said to protect the health, environment and integrity of the land.
Halvorson purchased a large block of land in 2007, which he says was already enrolled in the elective program, and when it expired, he did not renew it. As the owner, he benefitted from the subsidy for several years before it expired; however, he does not support the program.
“Many farmers would disagree with me, because there’s a personal benefit,” Halvorson said. “I’m saying that in the long run that it’s detrimental any time the government tries to step in to influence markets. Ultimately it’s a bad deal. It creates a market where people are encouraged not to produce.”
On Halvorson’s Iowa farm, about 35 acres are leased to a farmer who produces corn and soy beans. The corn produced there benefits from an ethanol subsidy, which Halvorson also opposes.
“If there was a way that I could stop these subsidies or return it, of course I would,” he told PoliticsPA.
Halvorson is running against Congressman Bill Shuster (R-Blair) in the Republican primary for the 9th Congressional District.
According to the incumbent’s campaign, Shuster voted for the Farm Bill because it contained conservative reforms that were important to the people of the 9th spending cuts, $8 billion in cuts to the food stamp program, and important reforms in conservation programs that will save taxpayers money.
“Art Halvorson has run a relentlessly negative campaign from day one. His most recent hypocrisy is yet another attempt to distort Congressman Shuster’s proven conservative record,” Shuster campaign manager Sean Joyce said. “The difference is Art Halvorson is not just lying about Bill Shuster’s record, now he is conveniently ignoring his own.”