I'm here to speak briefly on my amendment, which is amendment number 3810. And I'm going to reserve the most of my time for tomorrow because some of my colleagues want to address this bill.
I also want to ask unanimous consent that a member of my staff, David Frederickson, who is my agriculture staff person from Minnesota, former head of the National
Farmers Union, that he be granted floor privileges for the remainder of the farm bill debate.
Mr. President, America's farm safety net was created during the Great Depression. It was created to protect struggling family farmers from volatile prices and from volatile weather. And I think the reasons for that safety net still remain today. That's why I am a strong supporter of this farm bill. I believe there's some forward-thinking provisions in this farm bill with regard to energy, cellulosic energy, something near and dear to my heart. We worked hard on those provisions. The permanent disaster relief is so important for the farmers in my state. I think the safety net that helped our farmers in the 2002 Farm Bill and allowed them to take risks and really revitalize a lot of the areas in this country are good. And that's why I support this farm bill.
But I also believe there's need for reform in this farm bill. I believe that the money that is set aside for a safety net for our farmers should be going to the hard-working farmers in this country and not to urban millionaires. When you look at what happened in the last few years, there are scandals. There are people that shouldn't have gotten this money. There’s an art collector in San Francisco. There's real estate developer in Florida.
When you look at where the money went, I think there's not a lot of farms in, say, the District of Columbia, where we stand today, Mr. President. $3.1 million in farm payments went to the District of Columbia. $4.2 million has gone to people living in Manhattan. And $1 billion of taxpayer money for farm payments has gone to Beverly Hills 90210. Last time I checked, not a lot of farmland in those areas. I believe we can fix this problem.
As Senator Dorgan said today, if we don't fix it, someone else is going to fix it for us. I believe that the people who live in farm states have an obligation to make sure that these programs are appropriate and that they're going to the right people. And that's why I'm proud that in this last farm bill as a member of the agriculture committee that we have included in this farm bill an end to the three-entity rule. We've eliminated this. It will cut down the abuse by applying payment limits strictly to individuals and married couples and end the practice of dividing farms into multiple corporations so they get multiple payments.
I also support the Dorgan-Grassley amendment that puts some sensible limits on the total number of subsidies. But there's something else that I believe is very important that we do, Mr. President, and that puts reasonable limits on income eligibility. Now what we have here with our amendment is a reasonable amendment. Let me go through what the law is right now. Right now the law for full-time farmers says that if you get at least 75% of your income from farming, you get, you have an unlimited amount of income and profit you can make, and you can still get government subsidies. That's how it works. It says for part-time farmers, if you get $2.5 million -- you may just be an investor living in Beverly Hills, you can still make up to $2.5 million and you get the subsidies.
We know with the budget problems this country is facing that we need to make some sensible reforms. The president has proposed $200,000 limit on income for both part-time and full-time farmers. The House-passed version has suggested $1 million limit on income for full-time farmers and a $500,000 limit for part-time farmers. So it's more generous of the administration, but it's still a big change from what the current law is.
Our senate bill that came out of committee unfortunately still allows for unlimited income for full-time farmers, and then basically for part-time farmers ends up after a number of years at $750,000. What our amendment does, the Klobuchar-Durbin-Brown amendment-- we have a number of people on the other side of the aisle who are going to be supporting this as well, as well as the department of agriculture -- it simply says that for full-time farmers if you make in profit, your income, $750,000, at that point you're not going to get any more government farm payments. Now if you've got a bad year and disaster strikes and you go below that amount, you will be eligible for those payments.
For part-time farmers, so many investors, the people that are making less than 66% of their income from farming, then if you make $250,000, then at that point you're no longer eligible for these payments. Now, I don't think this is something outrageous. I think this is good policy. When I think about the kind of farmers in my state, the average income of a farmer is $54,000, Mr. President. And that's why as we look at this farm bill and what we want to do for the new and beginning farmers, we want to get more farmers involved in agriculture, what we want to do for nutrition, conservation and most important to me, moving to this next generation of cellulosic ethanol. We have to acknowledge that at some point multimillionaires that live in urban areas should not be getting these farm payments. So I'm going to reserve the rest of my time, Mr. President, for tomorrow because my colleagues want to address this.
I think we'll have a good debate. But I wanted to put it in people's minds tonight so they can go back and talk to their staffs, how important it is and how sensible it is to put some reasonable income limits on this farm bill. And right now our senate bill has no income limits for full-time farmers and goes all the way up to $750,000 for part-time farmers.
I believe we can do better and still strongly support the family farmers in this country. I support them. My state is sixth in the country for agriculture, number-one turkey producer in the country. We've got a lot of corn. We've got some great people who are revitalizing our state because of the hard work that they did and the 2002 farm bill helped them. We want to keep the strong reforms in place, add the disaster relief, add the conservation focus. But we also want to have some reasonable reforms so the money goes where it should go. And that is our hard-working farmers. Thank you, Mr. President. I yield the floor.