For some lawmakers, the current U.S. Senate debate on farm subsidies strikes close to home.
At least six senators have received government agriculture handouts in recent years.
Although some pocket a relative pittance, the total amount of taxpayer money that these legislators have received over the past decade is more than $700,000. Add in close family members and the amount more than doubles.
As the proposed farm bill stands now, these senators would likely still be eligible for their benefit checks.
Here’s a look at what they have gotten in the past, according to financial disclosure forms and a U.S. Department of Agriculture database:
Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont.
One of the newest senators, Tester also is the top recipient of subsidies, collected largely before he was elected last November.
He and his wife, Sharla, have farmed land in Big Sandy Springs that has been in his family for nearly 100 years. The couple has received about $304,000 in federal farm aid since 1995.
The subsidies were for oats, wheat, barley, dry peas and disasters.
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa
A member of the Senate’s agriculture committee, Grassley has received about $283,000 in government subsidies for his family farm in Butler County between 1995 and 2005.
Most were corn, soybean and disaster-assistance subsidies. Grassley’s son, Robin, who runs the farm day-to-day, received nearly $654,000 during the same time.
Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan.
Since 1995, Brownback received about $50,000 in sorghum, wheat and conservation subsidies for his farm in Linn County.
Brownback’s father and brother have received a total of $605,000 over the same time.
Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore.
With his wife, Sharon, Smith has collected about $47,000 in wheat subsidies since 1995 for their Smith Frozen Foods operation in Umatilla County.
Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind.
The No. 2 Republican on the Senate agriculture committee, Lugar and his wife, Charlene, received about $18,000 in corn, soybean and wheat subsidies for his share of Lugar Stock Farm in Marion County since 1995.
Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark.
Listed on the Agriculture Department database using her maiden name, Blanche Lambert, the senator collected about $11,000 in rice, wheat, sorghum, corn and wetlands subsidies for her portion of a Phillips County farm since 1995.
She is also a member of the Senate agriculture panel.
Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont.
Another top Democrat on that committee, Baucus does not appear on the Agriculture database as having personally received subsidies. But close family members have collected more than $230,000 since 1995, according to the records.
(E-mail Lisa Hoffman at hoffmanl(at)shns.com.)