Archive for Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Local growers await farm bill reauthorization

Larry Schaake spent time Wednesday tending to some irrigation for his pumpkins in rural Lawrence. He believes crop insurance should be part of any farm bill, which is currently being debated in Congress, as it protects farmers in case of unexpected events.

Larry Schaake spent time Wednesday tending to some irrigation for his pumpkins in rural Lawrence. He believes crop insurance should be part of any farm bill, which is currently being debated in Congress, as it protects farmers in case of unexpected events.

July 17, 2013

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Larry Schaake spent time Wednesday tending to some irrigation for his pumpkins in rural Lawrence. He believes crop insurance should be part of any farm bill, which is currently being debated in Congress, as it protects farmers in case of unexpected events.

Larry Schaake spent time Wednesday tending to some irrigation for his pumpkins in rural Lawrence. He believes crop insurance should be part of any farm bill, which is currently being debated in Congress, as it protects farmers in case of unexpected events.

Larry Schaake isn't sure what he'd do without crop insurance.

It costs so much to plant his crop nowadays that if it doesn't grow, which has happened in recent years, it could be enough to put a farmer out of business.

Crop insurance is "probably our only salvation," said the 71-year-old Lawrence corn-and-soybean grower. "Our input costs are unreal."

Schaake is one of a number of local farmers paying attention to Congress' negotiations of a new farm bill. Both the House and Senate's versions of the legislation cut the $5 billion a year the government currently pays to farmers in direct payments while beefing up crop insurance.

Bill Wood, county director for Douglas County Extension, said that local farmers he has visited with hope the law has a strong crop-insurance program.

"It helps the farmer a little more on the decision-making part of things," he said.

Clint Hornberger, president of Douglas County Farm Bureau said that, for most local farmers, the two most critical components of the farm bill are crop insurance and conservation programs. The importance of insurance, for one, was made clear by the recent drought, in which many local producers lost much of their crops.

"We raised a little bit of wheat this year, but that's been it the last two years. Without crop insurance, it would have been disastrous to the farming economy," he said, noting that agriculture is a more than $40 million industry in Douglas County.

The government currently subsidizes about 62 percent of farmers' crop insurance premiums. While that program looks likely to remain in the farm bill, the same can't be said for direct payments.

"Farmers understand that we're in a budget crisis," Hornberger said. "In my operation, if I need the direct payments to survive, I'm doing something wrong."

Either way, he said, the longer the bill takes to pass, the more uncertain farmers will be. He said that when he recently inquired about implementing conservation measures on his farm to slow erosion, conservation officials were unsure if funding for those types of projects would continue.

"Quite honestly, at this point, a bill on the president's desk is what we want to see," Hornberger said.

Comments

Alceste 1 year, 8 months ago

Worst. Farm Bill. Ever

Farm income has never been higher. The federal deficit has never been deeper.

So why are House Republicans celebrating passage of a “farm-only” farm bill that includes the most generous farm subsidies in history?

That’s right. The “farm-only” bill passed on a party-line vote last week was the most fiscally irresponsible farm bill ever.

It increases unlimited crop insurance subsidies and provides budget-busting price guarantees for major crops like cotton and rice. Much of the (meager) savings predicted by the Congressional Budget Office come from gutting conservation programs, not reining in subsidies.

As a result, the nation’s largest and most profitable farm businesses will still collect more than $1 million a year in federal subsidies ¬– while the bottom 80 percent get less than $5,000 apiece, and most farmers offering to help protect the environment get turned away.

As if that’s not generous enough, a last-minute change to the farm bill, which 62 Republicans had previously rejected, makes all of these subsidies last forever.

Why is there no "means testing" for subsidies and insurance just like there is for other welfare programs??? Even Mike Pompeo sees the need for "means testing". Again, if welfare recipients are "means tested" to become eligible for entitlements, why aren't farmers "means tested" for subsidies and crop insurance??? Those are phat cat entitlement programs if ever there was an entitlement program.

http://www.ewg.org/agmag/2013/07/worst-farm-bill-ever

Pastor_Bedtime 1 year, 8 months ago

I'd wager that a large portion of these farmers support politicians whose careers are founded upon or bolstered by the whole 47% and makers vs takers rhetoric, and that many of them are blind to the big disconnect between simultaneously being a welfare-receiving farmer and showing distaste toward most other welfare programs and recipients.

jhawkinsf 1 year, 8 months ago

I'd wager that if welfare were changed to workfare, much of the opposition would be reduced or eliminated. So tell me, are the endeavors of farmers best described as welfare or workfare?

Now compare that to other programs and recipients, the ones you referenced. That distaste you mention, is it the same for people who are working full time yet need assistance as it is for those who refuse to work full time? I'd wager there is a big difference.

Pastor_Bedtime 1 year, 8 months ago

I'd suspect that most of these folks believe welfare is welfare and socialism is socialism ~ until it's their check in the mail, then it's essential and good government ~ unlike a minimum wage, which is outright unamerican. But to answer your question, maybe you'd best ask wealthy farmer Brownback, as his family's farm has sucked several hundreds of thousands of dollars from the taxpayers over the years.

jhawkinsf 1 year, 8 months ago

Well, you say these folks believe that welfare is welfare while I said the is a difference between welfare and workfare. I'm not certain what these folks believe, but I know what I think. And that there is a huge difference between the two.

BTW - I'm just guessing here, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if some of the food on your plate wasn't produced on those farms. Making you a welfare recipient? An enabler?

Pastor_Bedtime 1 year, 8 months ago

Yep ~My point is that we all benefit to some extent from these programs ~ just as we as a society all benefit from helping the poorest and most disadvantaged. But to regard industry bailouts as evil and assisting the most needy as encouraging an entitlement mentality all the while receiving funds to plant ~ or not plant, as the case may be ~ reeks of hypocrisy. If this trickle-down economics is real, then it goes to prove that removing the welfare component of farming will reduce our tax burden and thus put more money into the economy ~ or does that only apply to government programs that assist the neediest among us? Consistency, please.

jhawkinsf 1 year, 8 months ago

Ah, but my point is that we all benefit from many of the programs, but not all. Those programs that are most likely to be of a benefit are those that require something in return for that benefit. So if a farmer gets a subsidy for not growing on a portion of his land, yet by definition is a farmer and therefore growing on some other portion of his land, then he is producing something of value to us all. Workfare. The same with what we generally think of as the traditional welfare recipient. Require that person to clean the parks, or the side of the road, in return for that welfare, then that person is producing something of value to us all. Workfare! Once that happens, in my opinion, much of the opposition will go away.

Conversely, if the farmer receives a subsidy for not growing anything at all, or the welfare recipient is receives with no expectation that anything need be given, then opposition goes up.

As far as this farm bill is concerned, is the typical farmer one who receives a subsidy while producing nothing at all, or is the typical farmer one who receives a subsidy but despite that, produces goods that are of a benefit to us all? You mentioned Brownback. Which of those two does he and his family fall into?

Pastor_Bedtime 1 year, 8 months ago

"Those programs that are most likely to be of a benefit are those that require something in return for that benefit." Yeah, there's no benefit to raising well-nourished children and keeping low-income families stable and intact and we get nothing in return from that. Improving a wealthy farmer's bottom line clearly benefits us all.

jhawkinsf 1 year, 8 months ago

That's clearly not what I said nor is it what I meant.

Cait McKnelly 1 year, 8 months ago

Welfare is welfare. They just like to dress up the pig and put lipstick on it.

jhawkinsf 1 year, 8 months ago

As this country is running on a deficit, generally speaking, we are all welfare recipients.

Are you saying that because of that, it really makes no difference if you work or not, whether you contribute or not?

deec 1 year, 8 months ago

Farm subsidy info:

$16.4 billion in subsidies 1995-2012.

$9.38 billion in commodity subsidies.

$3.45 billion in crop insurance subsidies.

$2.37 billion in conservation subsidies.

$1.14 billion in disaster subsidies.

Kansas ranking: 6 of 50 States

32 percent of farms in Kansas did not collect subsidy payments - according to USDA.

Ten percent collected 70 percent of all subsidies.

Amounting to $9.00 billion over 18 years.

Top 10%: $28,163 average per year between 1995 and 2012

. Bottom 80%: $726 average per year between 1995 and 2012.

http://farm.ewg.org/region.php?fips=20000

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