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Consider Haskell County Kansas

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I spent a lot of time on a dairy farm when I was a kid growing up in Wisconsin. Now living in Lawrence it is easy to become disconnected from agriculture. Rural Haskell County has a natural connection to Lawrence. It was named after Dudley Haskell of Lawrence. He was a congressman back in 1883. Haskell County is now represented by Congressman Jerry Moran. Representative Moran has two important deadlines this week. We all share a tax deadline with him tomorrow. The other deadline is passage of a farm bill by Friday. So why do I care and what is the connection to Haskell County? Well according to the Environmental Working Group Representative Moran's district ranks second in the nation in the amount of farm subsidies received from 2003 through 2005 (http://farm.ewg.org/sites/farmbill2007/cdlist.php). The amount is $1,315,979,151. That is billion with a "B". Haskell County was a recipient of $43.2 mllion of this amount. I have been to Haskell County but I never knew it was so wealthy. As I remember it is flat farm county with little population. The U. S. Census Bureau estimates the 2006 population as 4,171 folks. What a lucky group of people. Of course the Department of Agriculture does not send the checks to Haskell County. There are actually over 100 farm businesses receiving these subsidies. Farming in Haskell County can be a tough business with droughts, late spring freezes, snow, hail storms, : the list could go on. The kind of family farm that I spent time on as a kid would find tough going in Haskell County. They would deserve the subsidies. But wait a minute. Here is a list of the 8 top farm businesses in Haskell County and the amount they received in that 2003 to 2005 time slot reported by the Environmental Working Group. They don't sound like small struggling family farms to me.1Clawson Farm Partnership $2,202,507 2 Cox Farms $1,806,319 3Rooney Agri Business $ 908,518 4Brown Enterprises $ 720,731 5 Bryant Farms $ 666,205 6Garetson Brothers Partners$ 665,377 7 Kells Farm $ 549,252 8 Mclain Partnership $ 514,372

Comments

Ronda Miller 7 years, 2 months ago

John, interesting post about an interesting topic. I think it would be very difficult to ascertain which of the above businesses are family owner/operated except for the Gareteson Brothers Partners and that is just because of their name choice. They all could possible be family - inlaws, etc. Did you google them for more info?Regardless, it is a lot of money and we either trust that the people handing out the big bucks know what they are doing or we don't trust that they do. What do you think?

shorttrees 7 years, 2 months ago

Actually, most of them if not all are family corporations. The Clawson partnership probably includes at least 4 branches of family (such as Grandpa, a son or two and a couple grandsons) and probably around 20,000 acres. Now before people back here get bent, 5,000 acres out there usually has the same value and production as 1600-2000 acres here. Add to that the costs of irrigation (Haskell county is largely irrigated land) and land costs and equipment costs. So rather than each family running the smaller farm it makes sense to merge it all into one corporation for economy of scale and fewer equipment purchases ($250,000 for a combine anyone??). What most people don't realize is that there is a family basis to most of the farming corporations that exist. Even if it has a businesslike name rather than a family one there is most always a family behind it. And it's not always a profitable business, so if the family doesn't incorporate they can lose everything down to the kid's pet rabbits (like the ones I bought at a friend's farm auction when I was 15).

Ronda Miller 7 years, 2 months ago

Yeah, I am familar with all of this from nwestern Kansas. There are fewer and fewer family farms there. So few of the young people want to go back to that area beause it doesn't pay enough or they want the big citiy lights - like me! :)An area east of Bird City recently started a large dairy farm operation which I thought my lonely relatives who are left standing would object too - instead they are thilled that the hired staff have family to rent housing (and now are talking about building more housing!!!,), have children who are keeping the school system alive. It is all a good thing. They now have hope that their property and houses will actually sell for something when they die or would themselves decide to move.

Ronda Miller 7 years, 2 months ago

Having a lazy, journalistic kind of day - go back to bed and get up on the right side, warmer! :) I had the old "it isn't my article so I'm not going to do the leg work" attitude. Sorry I let you down. :(

situveux1 7 years, 2 months ago

I'm not going to defend these subsidies, because personally I think if you can't make it on your own then you need to change jobs...but...these figures don't take into account the enormous costs of operating a farm business. This post was written as if these subsidies are pure profit and that just not true. With the price of gas, labor and equipment all rising exponentially, these figures don't tell the whole story.

Ronda Miller 7 years, 2 months ago

Factor in weather such as drought, hail, major destruction from random T-storm cells, microbursts, storm walls, late frosts, flood and it is a hard job indeed. We need to salute our area farmers and ranchers for sticking with it - "if you can't make it on your own then you need to change jobs" don't know jack about the difficulty with farming. Thank goodness these people are dedicated to staying in this business - through thick and thin.

johnp 7 years, 2 months ago

There are some interesting and/or important ideas expressed in these posts. I will mention three.1. University of Kansas farm subsidies. It would be interesting to know how much our local institution receives. They do receive a small amount of direct assistance. However, I think that much of what they receive is through rents. I am not enough of an agricultural economists to figure that out.2. Irrigated land. I do wonder what the effect of farm subsidies is on water use. Do subsidies keep marginal land in production and encourage the use of precious water resources?3. Size of subsidies. As several comments mentioned these subsidies are not based upon profit and loss. President Bush, a rancher himself wanted to reform this program so that subsidies would be based upon something like adjusted gross income and limit benefits to those making less than $200,000 per year. Both Republican and Democrat controlled congresses turned down this major reform. Check out www.usda.gov for the details.

georgeofwesternkansas 7 years, 2 months ago

I see, getting ready for a Slattery Senate run. i.e. anyone that supports Moran is the devil. Everyone in Morans district is evil.

situveux1 7 years, 2 months ago

Making it on your own or changing jobs is called the free market. If it's such a hard job then do something else or live off of what you get for it. Since when in American do we award those who have a "hard job" with government subsidies? If you think having a "hard job" entitles you to government welfare, then I'd venture to say you don't know jack about the free market.I have a hard job, how about some government handouts for me?

Ronda Miller 7 years, 2 months ago

subsidies are also used to save our farmland for future production - not just to bail the farmer out for that one season, and they have been around for a long time. Not giving subsidies would mean evey farmer during the dust bowl would have switched jobs - who would have jumped in to become a farmer in their place?

situveux1 7 years, 2 months ago

As farmers begin to get out, there are other farmers that will get in to take their place...again...it's called the free market. I don't care how 'hard' the work is, there is always somebody there to do the work. As farmers get out and supply goes down, demand will increase prices and you'll see more people then getting back into farming. The free market is a great thing, you should really try it sometime. It even applies to 'hard' jobs.

HW 7 years, 2 months ago

Cool,The subsidies could be looked at as food for the poor. They would actually be subsidies for food for the public. Since the poor are part of the public, there you go. Without the subsidies, who do you think is going to pick up the rising costs of farming? The public will through higher prices for food. I am not saying that the subsidies are prefect and there isn't a better way, but I am saying that the poor could have it worse.

Ronda Miller 7 years, 2 months ago

warmer, I couldn't agree with your yups and duhhs more. We must be talking farm lingo! :)

Jeff Kilgore 7 years, 2 months ago

Whatever position you take, it's extremely important that more people are able to live on farms and produce things to eat. Steinbeck stated that mankind loses a part of its humanity when separated from the physical presence of land. The small acreage that we purchased a few years ago has meant a lot to me. With regard to subsidies, I am certain that loopholes exist, but subsidies are not only vital for the producers, but for people the world over who want to eat three times a day, just like us.

RedwoodCoast 7 years, 2 months ago

georgeofwesternkansas: I have a good deal of family in Haskell County, and I assure you that they are not evil. They're just the typical isolated Kansans who must rely on the media for their information about the outside world.Some of the farming operations out there are getting huge. I drove around the county with my dad over Christmas. He worked as an ag consultant for 7 years out there. There are still some single-home farms out there. I do have to say, though, that there are some rather well-to-do-looking farm spreads out there. But you have to ask yourself, would you want to be a farmer?

sonshyne2002 7 years, 2 months ago

Farming is a rough job that requires a lot of invested time. Many families have joined together to lighten some of the load. That is one reason why you see the large amounts of money going to one account like mentioned in the above article. It is no big deal to see four generations farming together in these communities. Growing up in Melvern, Ks I saw this all the time. Great Grandpa, Grandpa, Dad and his two brothers and all the male cousins. And each of them with some acreage adds up quickly.Some of these farms are owned by big business but they employee rural community members and they put food on the table of every home in America.Farmers loose a lot in a single bad year. Not only do they loose their money to live on for the next year, they also loose what they invested. If it weren't for these payment farmers wouldn't farm. Then were would we be? I am glad they have "dirt running in their viegns" as my grandpa use to say.

situveux1 7 years, 2 months ago

Yes, I agree, over the past few decades the large farms have been taking over more so than smaller farms and it is because of small margins. I agree with what you've posted here, I just don't believe the idea of small family farms warrants my tax dollars supporting it. And you're dead on with why these figures are so high...and I'd add to that that the author doesn't take into account the high costs of operation as I noted before. So really, the figures mean nothing.Also, whoever posted about the 'poor' not being able to afford food (or something to that effect), you're right, with rising costs you will see rising prices and if the subsidies were taken away you would see higher costs and therefore higher prices. I'm just curious why this is bad? As far as the US is concerned, isn't there a program called food stamps for the working poor? The notion that farm subsidies help the poor is 100% off base...the program was started to increase profits for farmers, it has nothing to do with food for the poor.I would add further that subsidized food in general is an awful idea. The artificially low prices of food in the Soviet Union contributed to its downfall when the government couldn't support the price caps anymore. I would strongly disagree with anyone who would advocate for this system in the US.

RedwoodCoast 7 years, 2 months ago

IGW: at the expense of possibly not catching your sarcasm, I'll just say that I do not farm nor do I live in Haskell County. But perhaps you were being sarcastic.And since someone mentioned Russia, I'll just make it known that annhydrous ammonia fertilizer is getting very expensive lately. In addition to that, we're importing most of it from Saudi Arabia and Russia. Looks like they might have a tight grip on American farming at the moment.

situveux1 7 years, 2 months ago

I don't believe that just because everyone else is doing something that means we should as well.I simply relate the low cost of food in the former USSR because it shows that subsidies in the name of lower prices for the public isn't always a great idea, as someone else was advocating for.I guess I should have differentiated in farm subsidies vs. a cap on food prices. The USSR put caps on food prices that were below the costs of production. So that isn't exactly the same as farm subsidies, but one clearly leads to the other in some cases. Not all, but some.In the end, I personally don't believe in farm subsidies or any subsidy for any company from the government. The best thing the government could do is to be fair to all businesses and cut taxes and regulation, where possible. That's my own philosophical position, but I realize not everybody agrees with that.I just personally believe that there are very few industries where the government should be involved in providing income or propping up the industry in anyway. I believe in the free market, and I believe the free market is best even for farming. I hold nothing against those that apply for and receive farming subsidies...they have to in order to compete...but in general I think they hurt more than they help.Something I came across a couple of days ago was this story from Bill Moyers. It talks about farm subsidies and how many farmers are working the system. It's this kind of behavior that makes government intervention bad...the waste far outweighs the benefits (in my opinion, again.)http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/04112008/watch2.html

situveux1 7 years, 2 months ago

Well, I wasn't advocating for totally free markets...as you'll see I advocated for less government intervention and taxation where possible. Based on the Moyers story and other information, it's clear to me that farm subsidies are highly abused and need to be eliminated or at the very, very least cut drastically.I hold nothing against those that use them...I'd do it too if it meant making a profit or having to close shop because others are getting the extra income and I'm not.And, I'm not libertarian, although they do have some good ideas.

Sigmund 7 years, 2 months ago

I have always wanted to do a study of the corn/ethanol subsidies and their impact on the environment, price of food, and price of gasahol vs gasoline. Subsidies distort the free market, admittedly often for very good reasons, but all too often with unintended consequences.The "classic" example are the rice subsidies. From the EWG report. "Not only are taxpayers shelling out their hard earned dollars at record levels, but they aredoing so in order to make rich corporate farms richer while small farmers are bought out and lose their land. http://www.taxpayer.net/agriculture/learnmore/factsheets/rice.pdf"From Rice to Riches: Subsidies Cost Taxpayers Billions"Here are the unintended consequences, "According to Oxfam, American rice, which cost on average $415 (£220) a tonne to produce, is being sold in countries, such as Haiti, Ghana and Honduras at just $274 a tonne. This is a third less than its true cost, elbowing out local rice farmers who cannot compete with the subsidised American exporters."http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/economics/article379756.ece"Oxfam hits out at US rice subsidies"Lets not even begin to about talk of the environmental soundness of encouraging farmers to grow a water intensive crop like rice in places like California and Texas.

RedwoodCoast 7 years, 2 months ago

IGW: Well, I was born in Garden City, and my grandparents do still live in Haskell County. I lived out there until I was about a year old. Southeast Kansas is where I grew up.As I said, there are some very comfortable-looking farm spreads in that area. There are also many farmers who are not that well-off. I would wager that the more comfortable-looking places either farm several thousand acres and/or they have cattle somewhere. Most likely, they are the family farming operations that some here have talked about. Most of them hire farmhands, too. Haskell County actually has some of the best soil for farming in the state. It's water and weather that tend to be the main problems. I can't remember ever seeing water in the Cimarron River near Satanta. Historically, water used to flow in the channel. I guess we showed that river.

Sigmund 7 years, 2 months ago

Sorry, the link above says it is to the EWG, which is actually here.http://farm.ewg.org/farm/region.php?fips=00000#searchAt the bottom of the page, put in YOUR zip code to see how many of Lawrence locals get farm subsidy payments. For mine (66049) here are those listed on the first page:1 Triple B Farms Ptn Lawrence, KS 66049$628,562.702 Paul B Heyman Lawrence, KS 66049$299,606.293 Denning-santee Agco Inc Lawrence, KS 66049$288,581.094 Frances N Vanblaricum Lawrence, KS 66049$287,729.935 William F Simpson Lawrence, KS 66049$199,250.886 John C Stover Lawrence, KS 66049$192,101.447 Carol L Mcwilliams Lawrence, KS 66049$192,035.408 Cenu Inc Lawrence, KS 66049$178,958.499 Virginia B Edwards Lawrence, KS 66049$167,247.5410 Joanne K Stone Lawrence, KS 66049$159,026.7211 Anthony Andrew Schmidt Lawrence, KS 66049$157,418.0012 Gary E Price Lawrence, KS 66049$149,116.0013 Robert A Schehrer Rev Trust Lawrence, KS 66049$148,998.5914 Heck Alfred And Sons Lc Lawrence, KS 66049$147,639.9815 Jean F Shepherd Lawrence, KS 66049$141,769.0016 Alexander & Lindsey LLC Lawrence, KS 66049$131,452.4317 E Keith Rasmussen Lawrence, KS 66049$121,374.7818 Doneta Gates Lawrence, KS 66049$118,315.4019 Norma D Caleb Trust Lawrence, KS 66049$103,426.7920 Dale Miller Lawrence, KS 66049$100,962.37Who knew Judge Shepard was farmer in her spare time getting $141,769.00 in subsidies????Wouldn't it be nice if The City of Lawrence Kansas published a database on line listing all those getting tax breaks or contracts with our local tax dollars instead of that idiotic and meaningless Domestic Partnership Registry?

snowWI 7 years, 2 months ago

The farms are getting larger obviously.The population will continue to decline in many of the frontier counties as fewer people are needed to farm large amounts of acerage. Our family portion of the ranch in NW Kansas is "only" 1600 acres. (I will not mention the county!) This is not really a large amount of land in this part of Kansas. I am not suprised by the subsidies given out by the largest farming corporations. Plenty of family farms exist, but they sure are getting larger in order to survive. Are big corporate farms more common in the western states that have big rural water districts???

Sigmund 7 years, 2 months ago

Even more interesting is the 66044 zip code. Here are those listed on the first page:1 Pine Family Farms Gen Prn Lawrence, KS 66044$1,094,539.012 Nunemaker-ross Inc Lawrence, KS 66044$874,929.153 Mulberry Agricultural Ent Lawrence, KS 66044$874,375.524 Jim Grinter Farms Inc Lawrence, KS 66044$642,650.295 Robert W Lewis Trust Lawrence, KS 66044$512,039.116 Betty Jo Haley Rev Trust Lawrence, KS 66044$434,294.597 Harvey Burwick Revocable Trust Lawrence, KS 66044$286,777.008 Douglas J Compton Lawrence, KS 66044$261,215.839 Hurlbut Management Lc Lawrence, KS 66044$259,142.0010 L & R Inc Lawrence, KS 66044$242,805.9711 Pine Family Farms Lawrence, KS 66044$211,377.0012 Farmland Industries Inc Lawrence, KS 66044$167,205.7313 Gary E Price Lawrence, KS 66044$149,116.0014 Lisa Brady Lawrence, KS 66044$119,387.1015 David Heller Lawrence, KS 66044$112,752.8116 Morris Kay Lawrence, KS 66044$105,113.1917 Michael D Hemphill Lawrence, KS 66044$104,973.9718 Morris Garvin Trust Lawrence, KS 66044$103,717.5019 John W Young And Susan I Young Re Lawrence, KS 66044$93,899.3020 Monte Torneden Lawrence, KS 66044$92,679.99Wouldn't it be nice if The City of Lawrence Kansas published a database a on line listing of all those getting tax breaks or contracts with our local tax dollars?And here I was complaining about all those taxes I paid today, didn't realize it was making so many of my neighbors so rich. I am so embarrassed.

snowWI 7 years, 2 months ago

The farms are obviously getting larger with time. This has been happening for many years. The family farms are getting larger in order to survive. I am not surprised by the subsidies given out for Haskell County. Those farming corporations are probably quite large. Out there 1000 acres is really not that huge. Our portion of the family ranch in NW Kansas is around 1600 acres. (I will not mention the county!) Do the western states have more big corporate farms because of the larger rural irrigation districts? I would assume some of those farms would be quite large in size as well, although I am not very familiar at all with agriculture in the rural West.

snowWI 7 years, 2 months ago

Good information posters. I have learned some interesting things by I reading some of the posts.

wstrnksgirl 7 years, 2 months ago

I grew up on a farm in Haskell County. I scanned the full list of 20 recipients, and know most of the families. They are all hard working people, several generations in most cases, and if they look "wealthy" by the homesteads they live on it's because of years and years of hard work, saving when they could in the few "good years" the weather, pests and high operating costs didn't take most of what they made. It doesn't pay to be a small farmer, so they've had to adjust and find a way to keep their land. I'd like to know what prompted the articles author to pick Haskell County. Why not Finney County and the family that owns/controls most of the land along the old highway into Garden City.Bottom line, the family farm isn't a paying proposition. It just about has to be a corporation to manage that.And if the author would really like to experience farming in Haskell County, I have relatives that would probably be more than happy to let him help at harvest!

Ronda Miller 7 years, 2 months ago

multi, that may possibly have been the case - men falling all over you. From what I know of my graduating class very few of the females stayed behind. I think the men who did probably did so because they took over the family farm.You still might have some luck with the area, mulit. Wanna hitch a ride with me next time I go let me know. I have never gone back for a high school reunion even - maybe it is about time. That might make for an interesting blog.I probably do know the family, or at least the name, of the people you mention - not a whole lot of people in them there hills! Beautiful area though! I miss the haunting, natural beauty, the sunsets, the albino owls, the coyotes howling, cows mooing, squeak of the windmill, storms rolling across the horizon - okay, I'm packing it up.

snowWI 7 years, 2 months ago

IGW- In a post I made a long time ago I confused the words corporate and corporation. The family farm can get larger over time, and is a farming corporation. The big corporate farms I assume would be the big players that own huge amounts of land, especially out West. Where does Ted Turner fit into all this? LOL Everyone knows he has huge land holdings in many states!

snowWI 7 years, 2 months ago

Also, the counties that are losing population at the fastest rate in KS are those along the northern tier counties, and most of NW Kansas. The county with the fastest population loss between 2000 and 2006 according to Census Bureau is Lane County.It lost 16.6% of its population during that time period.

snowWI 7 years, 2 months ago

It is interesting when I travel through Wisconsin and see the dairy farms carved out of the northwoods in some areas. A lot of dairy farms are located just south of the northwoods. If you are familiar with the area the northwoods begins once you go north of Wausau. The latitude marker of 45N is generally the dividing line between farms and forests. I know that dairy farms do extend as FAR north as Barron County around the Rice Lake area. It is always amazing to me how much of a HUGE difference in climate exists between the Midwest and the Plains. In WI they had lows of 5-10F a few days ago in the north-central areas of the state, while areas of KS today baked under 90F+ heat!

Ronda Miller 7 years, 2 months ago

snow, yes the breaks are awesome - I will be visiting them with a 90 plus guide over Memorial Day weekend. I can hardly wait. I wanted to see them over Christmas but so much snow and the car would have been in a ditch. I might have diappeared in the breaks forever. My aunt who is 80 talks about having picnics at the breaks as a child on the 4th of July - they would send their fireworks into the breaks. Yes, very different weather as you mention - Bird City had over five inches of snow just less than a week ago. Long, long winter out there, but I miss the wind. I really miss the wind, so days like today are perfect.

snowWI 7 years, 2 months ago

I read in article that said a few people lost lives in the wildfires in eastern Colorado. It was really an awful situation. Keep those people in your prayers.

Sigmund 7 years, 2 months ago

max1 (Anonymous) says: "The school lunch program actually consumes a larger portion of the USDA budget than crop subsidies."Kind of like subsidized apples and federal gaurenteed oranges? No one is talking about cutting the school lunch program, but what possible economic reason do we pay farm subsides to Douglas J Compton ($261,215.83) and Pine Family Farms Gen Prn ($1,094,539.01)? Even Farmland Industries Inc recieved only $167,205.73 over the same period. Surely you are not trying to tell us we are "doing it for the children," unless of course the kids are named Pine or Compton.http://farm.ewg.org/farm/addrsearch.php?s=yup&stab=US&city=&zip=66044&z=See+Recipients&last=&first=&fullname=max1 (Anonymous) says: "Much of the production of the farm went begging for a market, surpluses of farm products continued to mount, prices of farm products declined to a point where farm income provided only a meager subsistence."So if we have an over supply, why subsidize crops when that leads to even more surpluses?

Sigmund 7 years, 2 months ago

max1 (Anonymous) says: "Where on earth do you see "free market" principles practiced nowadays?"We all recognise no markets are perfectly free of regulation and taxation, so when I or others say "free markets will provide a better solution" what we mean is the freer the market the better for everyone. In a free market (free as in no government subsidies or taxes on import or exports) the cheapest place for production will generally provide the cheapest food. The closer we move to free markets, even if we don't reach perfection, the better.If Alaska subsidized it's farmers enough they will grow "cheap" strawberries for school kids lunches. But it is better to grow strawberries where the environment and climate are already condusive and you don't have to subsidize production. Heating hot houses by burning expensive fossil fuels is much more costly and less effective for production of strawberries and the freer the markets the more that disadvantage/advantage gets inclduded in the price of the strawberries consumers and schools pay. Sure that hurts Alskan Strawberries Producers Association, but it is better for consumers, taxpayers, and those that grow strawberries where conditions are favorable.Exercise for the reader, "Why is buring fossil fuels significantly better for the environment than growing corn in Kansas for E85?"

Sigmund 7 years, 2 months ago

max1 (Anonymous) says: "Sigmund, I posted a response to your question, but it didn't show up, so here it is again. Now this response will probably show up in duplicate."LJW Online is having significant problems and I have had the same experience. My guesses are (in order) database issues, firewall issues, new code push. In any event I first noticed it when KU made the Elite 8 and got worse as they won the NCCA Tournament and chalked it up to increased load from nationwide fans.

staff04 7 years, 2 months ago

warmer, I thought we were supposed to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and not expect handouts from the government? Or does that not apply here?

Confrontation 7 years, 2 months ago

"Since when in American do we award those who have a "hard job" with government subsidies?"Actually, the farmers deserve subsidies more than the people who keep having children that they can't afford. I'd much rather see the farmers who own land around my hometown gets some help, rather than sending more money to a woman with five kids from five different baby daddies. I never lived on a farm, but most of my high school friends did (and some still do). Those were some of the hardest working people I've ever met.

staff04 7 years, 2 months ago

"Actually, the farmers deserve subsidies more than the people who keep having children that they can't afford."Huh? I think it funny that some who would say that people who cannot sustain the lifestyles they choose to live do not deserve government subsidies change their tune in this case. I don't think you can have it both ways.

Confrontation 7 years, 2 months ago

There's a big difference between farmers and women who can't get on the pill Farmers provide essential resources. These women provide an unnecessary drain on the system and children who have a good shot at becoming criminals.

staff04 7 years, 2 months ago

I agree that there is a difference, confrontation. But it is pretty hard to argue that farmers that recieve subsidies, essential resources or not, cannot sustain the lifestyle they choose to live. I wasn't suggesting that overspawning women were the same, but can you see that both farmers and overspawning women both cannot sustain the lifestyle they choose to live?Not the same, but parallel.

Sigmund 7 years, 2 months ago

its_getting_warmer (Anonymous) says: "Sigmund, your strawberries is a non sequitur. USDA programs dont try to incent corn or strawberries in Alaska, or grapes in Kansas."The made up strawberry example was meant to illustrate the encouragement of a behaviour that would be unsound without the subsidy. For a real life example I mentioned rice growing in Texas and California, which aren't particularly suitable nor economically feasible without the subsidy but are more suitable for other agricultural endevourshttp://farm.ewg.org/farm/progdetail.php?fips=00000&progcode=rice&page=states"Not only are taxpayers shelling out their hard earned dollars at record levels, but they are doing so in order to make rich corporate farms richer while small farmers are bought out and lose their land."http://www.taxpayer.net/agriculture/learnmore/factsheets/rice.pdf"From Rice to Riches: Subsidies Cost Taxpayers Billions"Here are the unintended consequences, "According to Oxfam, American rice, which cost on average $415 (£220) a tonne to produce, is being sold in countries, such as Haiti, Ghana and Honduras at just $274 a tonne. This is a third less than its true cost, elbowing out local rice farmers who cannot compete with the subsidised American exporters."http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/economics/article379756.ece"Oxfam hits out at US rice subsidies"Lets not even begin to about talk of the environmental soundness of encouraging farmers to grow a water intensive crop like rice in places like California and Texas.

Sigmund 7 years, 2 months ago

its_getting_warmer (Anonymous) says: "I'm not defending all aspects of farm programs, but your understanding of food policies is pretty darn low."No it's not, I actually understand food policy pretty darn well. If the world produces too much rice the price of rice goes down and fewer people will grow it, especially those with the highest cost structures (California and Texas Rice growers for instance). That is unless they are subsidized with taxpayer dollars and can sell it even lower than their costs and still make a profit. If the world produces too little the price of rice will go up encouraging farmers who were marginal cost producers that the price will be high enough to be profitable. No subsidies will be required. In fact, the market price for food signals producers not only how much but what to produce (corn or wheat or what mix for instance).The higher the price for one, they plant more and vice versa. As for the problem of a uncertain future prices, ever hear of something called the futures market? Know any farmers who don't use it to lock in a price today for crops they will plant and deliver in the future? This brings both the farmer and large consumers (General Mills, Frito Lay, etc.) a great deal of certainty. US taxpayers do not need to subsidize rice production in Texas or California or face some global shortage of rice any more than we need to subsidize Oil Companies.Funny people complain about Big Oil Subsidies but no one complains about Big Corn subsidies.

Sigmund 7 years, 2 months ago

In fact, the recent food price increase can be looked at as having two major components, the rise in the global price of oil and government subsidies to farmers to grow corn for ethanol. Oil is a major input to cost for production, transportation and processing of food. Corn subsidies encourage many farmers who are only marginally able producers corn to use their gas, land, and water to grow corn for ADM to turn into E85, instead of wheat, soybeans, alfalfa or all the other choices. In the face of corn subsidies farmers are acting rationally, why take the risk of other crops when the government subsidizes corn? The policy is well intended, reduced dependence upon foreign oil. The unintended consequence is a shortage of other crops causing those commodities prices to rise to compete with the subsidized corn.

Confrontation 7 years, 2 months ago

staff04: Thanks for clarifying. I can see your point.

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