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Farmer-bashing all the new rage
Washington Times ^ | Thursday, July 18, 2002 | S. Richard Tolman

Posted on 07/17/2002 11:54:36 PM PDT by JohnHuang2

Edited on 07/12/2004 3:55:43 PM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]

Farmers are living high on the hog at the federal subsidy trough.

The fact is in 2001 farmers earned their lowest real net cash income since the Great Depression. In 2002, they suffered through the fifth straight year of record low prices for many commodities. And fuel prices are propelling production costs to an all-time record.


(Excerpt) Read more at washtimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS:
Thursday, July 18, 2002

Quote of the Day posted by Travis McGee

1 posted on 07/17/2002 11:54:36 PM PDT by JohnHuang2
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To: JohnHuang2
There is a saying among the disgruntled here in North Dakota, especially around Congressional election time...

"If the Congress keeps saving family farms at the rate it has the past two decades, they should all be gone in a few years."

Farming is a hard life, but when you factor out the apparent wealth tied up in the means of production (land and equipment) few farmers are "rich".

2 posted on 07/18/2002 12:02:02 AM PDT by Smokin' Joe
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To: Smokin' Joe
I don't know many people who get up before dawn to feed the livestock and don't come to the house before sunset. Farming is a challenging unforgiving endeavor. I'm not completely confortable with the subsidies given. But I wouldn't be entirely comfortable if none were given either.

Note the subsidies given in foreign nations. It should also be noted what import/export fees are charged. Once again we come in on the business end of the farm broom handle. Folks, for all the talk, has anyone seen any evidence of FreeTrade? Our products suffer the highest import fees with other nations time and time again. Frankly this FreeTrade fraud has been the biggest heist in the history of the planet.

3 posted on 07/18/2002 12:35:19 AM PDT by DoughtyOne
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To: JohnHuang2
Like to see some of these people put up a field of hay when it's 95/95%
4 posted on 07/18/2002 12:35:45 AM PDT by quietolong
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To: JohnHuang2
I think the leftist hostility comes from the belief that even small farmers are "rich", since they often own 2-5 million dollars worth of real estate. Most people don't realize how much land you have to work to have a household net income of say, $100,000/year after you pay for all the expenses and set enough aside to get through one or two bad years in a row.
5 posted on 07/18/2002 5:57:18 AM PDT by ko_kyi
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To: JohnHuang2
Thank you for posting this. It should also be noted that it is nearly impossible for US farmers to compete on a world market when their profit margins are so small. Few people realize how severely restricted US farmers are when growing crops. How many foreign nations who export foodstuffs to this country are restricting their grower's uses of DDT, lead arsenates, and other chemicals. Everyone here should think about that before popping those foreign-grown grapes into their mouths. And how do we know they are imported? We don't, because most packages aren't labeled, except those produced domestically. I buy nothing that is not labeled "Grown in (whatever state)" of the USA.
6 posted on 07/18/2002 8:22:59 AM PDT by MJemison
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Comment #7 Removed by Moderator

To: farmfriend
fyi
8 posted on 07/18/2002 9:55:40 AM PDT by Free the USA
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To: quietolong
Like to see some of these people put up a field of hay when it's 95/95%

  Hey, it's tough. No argument here.

  So, should the government (read: us) provide subsidies for every tough job?

Drew Garrett

9 posted on 07/18/2002 10:08:33 AM PDT by agarrett
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To: JohnHuang2
But why should the government subsidize for weather issues? They don't subsidize other industries for weather related issues? Foreign subsidies exist for many other industries: just because they do it, why should we? I am not against farmers, but I think that in reality, the most efficent farming is large corporate farms, not small family farms. Less capital equipment per acre, less labor per labor, etc. IF we had no subsidies, we'd lose most family farms. But we'd have a streamlined, corporate farming sector.

As for the loss of the family farm? Well, no one makes cars in their garage anymore either, and only about 10 companies have 99% of the market share.

10 posted on 07/18/2002 10:13:58 AM PDT by Koblenz
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To: JohnHuang2
I know firsthand how hard the average farmer works, and by no means are they rich. To all my friends in the cornbelt, we salute your efforts and someday you'll be appreciated...
11 posted on 07/18/2002 10:16:27 AM PDT by NYCop
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To: JohnHuang2
We just received our insurance settlement on our disaster insurance.It was a joke it did not cover the cost of the propane to burn prickley pear must less other types of medicine or other health products for the livestock.the only was anyone can make money is the was hillary did it.we were up at 6am burning and doing what ever to keep our herd healthy our labor was for free.
12 posted on 07/18/2002 10:48:15 AM PDT by solo gringo
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To: Koblenz; Carry_Okie; shaggy eel; JohnHuang2
Thanks John for this most excellent post.

Koblenz - You need to read this most excellent book on why we need people on the land, not corporations.

I sound like my name should be Bill or Ted, I'm having a most excellent adventure.

13 posted on 07/18/2002 10:57:45 AM PDT by farmfriend
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To: Koblenz
But why should the government subsidize for weather issues?

They shouldn't, but managing the land to support your urban existence is a valuable service that you don't pay for.

I am not against farmers, but I think that in reality, the most efficent farming is large corporate farms, not small family farms.

That might be true given production of a single good, however if we really considered the total expected actuarial benefit of family farms and paid for those services, they might outperform the corporatist with their ability to deliver a complex overlay of land management products and services. Corporate bureaucracy isn't so competitive dealing with that kind of complexity.

As for the loss of the family farm? Well, no one makes cars in their garage anymore either, and only about 10 companies have 99% of the market share.

And watch your freedom go down the toilet as they use that power to control the government to control the land to their benefit, or haven't you noticed? That's what most environmental regulations are all about.

When they export that agriculture overseas to unregulated economies elsewhere, what will be their power over you? Are you going to go to war to protect those supply lines? Do you care about pathogens or contaminants? If there is a disaster or war, where will you run? Who do you expect to care for you if your city was attacked? Do you expect the government to run out and confiscate that farm on your behalf?

You see, it's more complex than you realize, too complex for political resolution or management.

14 posted on 07/18/2002 11:11:32 AM PDT by Carry_Okie
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To: NYCop
someday you'll be appreciated...

Agriwelfare is more appreciation
than I want to pay for.

15 posted on 07/18/2002 2:29:48 PM PDT by gcruse
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To: DoughtyOne
Yeah, that Ted Turner, Scotty Pippen, and Sam Donaldson sure do sweat for their subsidies, don't they? What kind of crap is this! You notice that this piece is written by a lobbyist for the corn growers association, the same lovable people who want to force ethanol on all of us.

Most of this money goes to big agribusinesses, and the proof of that is that our weasel politicians couldn't even put a cap on the maximaum payments. It would be better for the taxpayers and the farmers to pay some of them to just get out of the business altogether. As long as the government is involved in screwing up the market, things will only get worse for all of us.

16 posted on 07/18/2002 2:40:27 PM PDT by Pining_4_TX
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To: Pining_4_TX
Yes, there are certainly down sides to our farm policies.  There would be down sides if the government got completely out of it as well.  Some of those down sides could likely be far worse than the current downsides.  I've heard credible arguements on both sides.  I come down on the side of farm subsidies for now.

The article was written by an advocate for farmers.  I don't see a problem with that.  On this forum there are very few representatives of farmer's points of view.  It seems only reasonable that an advocate speak for them.

There will be many who speak out against farm subsidies.

17 posted on 07/18/2002 3:25:58 PM PDT by DoughtyOne
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To: DoughtyOne
What you are saying is that sometimes theft is justified. The government is taking money that belongs to one person to give to another. It is theft, pure and simple.
18 posted on 07/18/2002 5:29:56 PM PDT by Pining_4_TX
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To: Pining_4_TX
Yes it is theft. Generally I do not approve of the government taking our funds, but in the interest of a managed food supply, I do approve of it in this instance. When compared to the overall budget this is a small amount. Now, if you want to go after welfare and a myriad of other government run programs, I'm right behind you. Welfare, social security, medicare, DOE, I'm there...
19 posted on 07/18/2002 9:05:48 PM PDT by DoughtyOne
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To: JohnHuang2
The "chattering classes" - overwhelmingly in Manhattan and Washington - want to bash farmers?

Time for a one-week "vacation" from food shipments to alert them to the relative importance of Red Nation farmers and Blue Nation talkingheads to Blue Nation!

20 posted on 07/18/2002 9:12:31 PM PDT by glc1173@aol.com
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To: Smokin' Joe
"If the Congress keeps saving family farms at the rate it has the past two decades, they should all be gone in a few years."

Using farming lingo, the only people who will benefit from this are the big corps that know how to get to the federal pig trough. One of the reasons small businesses are drying up is the feds (and states) are doing everything they can to help big corps at their expense.

A few big outfits are a lot easier to control than a bunch of little outfits. I'm sure, for example, that Walmart (started in Arkansas) didn't get any special breaks by having Hillary! on their board of directors.

You cannot currently produce enough off of land to pay for it. That means if it isn't already in your family, you either lease or run it as a tax break. I don't know any local farmer under 60 that isn't doing something else to actually pay the bills. Some of them are fire fighters, truck drivers, etc, and most of them live in double-wides or old houses built during the depression. Oh, there is one fancy farm in our area. Gosh, it's owned by our local Demonrat state representative who also happens to be a lawyer. I'm sure he won't get anything out of the farm bill.

BTW, read an article a while back, and over half the people on the federal board that decides who gets to grow how much citrus fruit are employees of.... Surprise!!! Sunkist!

21 posted on 07/18/2002 9:19:40 PM PDT by Richard Kimball
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To: JohnHuang2
When I clicked on this thread, I thought it was about Zimbabwe.
22 posted on 07/18/2002 9:20:25 PM PDT by Richard Kimball
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To: Smokin' Joe
I got in a whole lot a trouble at the Uni when we were supposed to do a paper on farming. I went out and interviewed a local farmer and he explained what all the equipment cost and how much profit he made from year to year. It's amazing -- and I wrote a glowing paper in admiration, not what they wanted for that class at all.

They work hard as hell, and not too many people want to do it anymore. What I can't figure out, when the stock market goes up, farm prices are down. When the stock market goes down, farm prices are down. When we have inflation, farm prices are down. When... Well, you get the idea. One would think these guys would make money at some point.

23 posted on 07/18/2002 9:26:29 PM PDT by Freedom4US
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To: Smokin' Joe
Farm supports were created to keep farmers in business and food supply constant so costs can stay low...an admission that there is no such thing as a free market, and the only market force there is happens to be the elitists who own the government.
24 posted on 07/18/2002 9:30:02 PM PDT by RWG
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To: gcruse; Koblenz
I think your hostility toward farmers is missplaced. 95% of farmers get no subsidies whatsoever. The only ones that get subsidies are agribusinesses that can afford lobbyists and lawyers. Of course a few token farmers are tossed in to make the numbers look good at the Dept of Agriculture. In my county, 23 farmers got a total of $15K in subsidies. That averages to $650 apiece. The money was likely a cost match or loan to pay for some kind of conservation project that the government forced upon them. Small farmers don't get the fat subsidies that you seem to envision. The companies that get these subsidies are Monsanto, Tyson Foods, DuPont, Westvaco, John Hancock Insurance, Chevron, Caterpillar, Boise Cascade Corporation and Archer Daniels Midland. Exactly why an insurance company and an oil company get some of the largest subsidies is beyond me. I suspect it has something to do with their lobbyists.

Its well known that small family owned farms far out produce corporate agribusinesses on a per acre basis. This is because the person working the farm has a huge personal interest in the success of the crop or livestock. Its a livelihood as opposed to a job. Its also in the blood. Your average Tyson employee is not going to stay out in that 95/95% weather until 11PM making hay like I did on Monday night. His exact quote will be "Tyson can kiss my a**!" If you want to see what happens when you let non-owners run a farm, you should look to the former soviet union. Now there is a shining success story. It cost the soviets their country, and they darn near starved to death. As you can see, farmers are actually quite important to national defense.

I agree that some kind of reform needs done. The govt subsidizes anyone who is wealthy enough to have a lobbyist, whether it be the airline industry, the auto industry, the oil industry, the telecomm industry, the shipbuilding indutry, the insurance industry or whoever. Nearly all of the ag subsidies go to massive agribusinesses, which in turn makes it noncompetitive for the small farmers. Left alone, small farmers would be quite happy as long as the country stops subsidizing their competitors. Funding to environmental groups and land trusts should stop. These groups through land purchases and imposition of unethical regulations are making farming non-competitive. They are swiftly driving small farms out of the country. Small farmers don't have the high paid lawyers to fight their government subsidized lawyers.

While we are at it, the USFS should remain under the Dept of Agriculture. Timber is a crop, not some tree hugging weirdo's private playground.

Before you condemn your average American family farmer as welfare scum, you should look and see who they are. Have you ever actually met one? Go to http://govinfo.library.orst.edu/ag-stateis.html and look up your county. One of the many databases there will show you who in your county got a subsidy and how much it was for. You should drive by that guy's house. Most of the money that the govt spends does not impact them whatsoever. Things like subsidized water and sewer systems, highway systems, inner city programs, playgrounds, urban renewal, business development zones, retraining programs and anything with the word infrastructure attached don't mean spit to them. Be sure to look at how the entirety of govt spends your and their taxdollars. Consider things that most farmers do not get like unemployment insurance, earned income tax credits, day care credits, nicely paved roads, good police coverage and cable TV with broadband internet access subsidized by the govt. What about the gasoline that their tractor uses? Over $0.80 of each gallon is spent on highways which they will rarely use, but you will use every day. For each thousand gallons, they spend $800 to make your highway nicer.

Now ask yourself whether that guy in the John Deere hat is sucking more money out of the govt or whether you are.
25 posted on 07/19/2002 8:39:11 AM PDT by FreeInWV
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To: DoughtyOne
There will be many who speak out against farm subsidies.

Only capitalists.
26 posted on 07/19/2002 8:42:08 AM PDT by BikerNYC
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To: BikerNYC
If you had any idea what was taking place in the pharmaceutical industry right now, you'd lay off the capitalist vs socialist mantra. There are times when the capitalist system doesn't cure all ailes. There are currently upwards of fifty important medications that are unavailable from any pharmaceutical source.

Snake bite antivenin, tetanus, certain third generation anti-biotics and other items can't be purchased at any price right now.

How would you like to see that happen to food?

Look, we live in a corporate environment right now that is as cut throat as I have ever seen. In the interest of the bottom line pharmaceutical houses are dropping items that have been mainstays for decades. Some of those mainstays are the best treatments available. Some of those items are the only treatments available. They are single sourced and dumped on a whim, even though profits are still being made. It's just that those profits aren't top dollar and skew the corporate reports.

I pitty the person who gets snake bit this year.

I would submit that doing away with farm subsidies might be the biggest snake bite of all.

27 posted on 07/19/2002 9:01:02 AM PDT by DoughtyOne
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To: DoughtyOne
There are times when the capitalist system doesn't cure all ailes.

You're right, of course. But then again, it never claimed to. It's the most efficient system we have, not the most holy.

Rather, it is socialism that claims to cure all ailes.
28 posted on 07/19/2002 9:07:50 AM PDT by BikerNYC
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To: BikerNYC
What's worse than socialism? Well it's those who support it. Those folks on the left are downright scarey. I'm not a fan of socialism and the damage it does to incentives, and all the marxist agenda that goes with it, so I am sympathetic to your arguement.

If a suggestion to do a top to bottom evaluation of farm subsidies was raised, with the emphasis of intelligently protecting private farms vs corporate farms, I'd be all for it. I am rather confident that the present system is out of whack, and in need to tweaking. Frankly I think we could accomplish all we need to on a lot less money.

The food supply is about the only interest I want the government's fingers in when it comes to protection. There might be one or two others. But let's be honest, the government screws up everything it touches. The least possible amount of governmental intervention would be my goal.

29 posted on 07/19/2002 9:25:20 AM PDT by DoughtyOne
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To: DoughtyOne
And I understand your argument. It is appealing. But I don't see why we should try to prevent the concentration of farm power into a few hands when that concentration is going on in the corporate world every day. Should we have bailed out Arthur Anderson because now we have fewer big-time accounting firms controlling the market? Why shouldn't farming be subject to the same market conditions and subject to the same tireless path of market concentration and domination by a few giants?

Unfortunately, one prediction by Marx, that industry would continue to merge and concentrate until only a few corporations dominate any one sector, seems to be coming true. To me, it's a sign of lack of creativity and drive. It's much easy to buy a business than to build one.
30 posted on 07/19/2002 9:34:59 AM PDT by BikerNYC
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To: BikerNYC
It's much easy to buy a business than to build one.

Yes it is. If we had less regulatory and tax load on start-up businesses there would be more happening, our overall economy would grow stronger and more rapidly.

31 posted on 07/19/2002 9:47:13 AM PDT by toddst
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To: toddst
I can't disagree with that!
32 posted on 07/19/2002 9:49:38 AM PDT by BikerNYC
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To: JohnHuang2

33 posted on 07/19/2002 10:07:54 AM PDT by Consort
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bttt
34 posted on 07/19/2002 12:26:07 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
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To: Jimer
The farmer in the Dell?
35 posted on 07/19/2002 1:11:47 PM PDT by gcruse
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