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Old 03-01-2005, 11:29 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Farmers should know that you reap what you sow.

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?id=492146
Quote:
LIVE OAK, Calif. Feb 11, 2005 Rice grower Frank Rehermann contemplates his 33rd spring planting while worrying about the lowest crop prices he has ever seen. And not only that, he is hearing troubling things from the federal government, his silent partner on 900 acres about 60 miles north of Sacramento.

President Bush, in his budget plan released Monday, is proposing to cut farm subsidy spending 5 percent this year and cap subsidies at $250,000 per person.

"I expect when it's all said and done the rice industry will sustain cuts. The question is how much?" said Rehermann, who along with 5,300 other rice growers in Northern California received $260 million in federal crop subsidies in 2003.

From North Dakota wheat country through the Midwest Corn Belt to the South's cotton fields, farmers who considered their government payments guaranteed are worried.

"What do they want from us? Do they really want us to succeed out here and support our local communities? Or do they want us to quietly go away and sell out to an investor?" asked Eunice Biel, a dairy farmer with 860 acres near Harmony, Minn.

In many farm states that helped re-elect Bush in November after never hearing any campaign talk about cutting their payments, there is a sense of betrayal.

"I'm not happy. I voted for George Bush," said cotton grower John Rife of Ferriday, La.

Between 1995 and 2003, U.S. farmers received $131 billion in federal subsidies, with the largest share 28 percent steered to Midwest corn growers, according to the Environmental Working Group, a nonpartisan Washington advocacy group. In 2003, the first year after Bush signed the most recent farm bill, about one-third of U.S. farms received $16.4 billion in federal subsidies,

By proposing such cuts, Bush has reignited a long debate in farm communities and urban America about the government's Depression-era practice of subsidizing what are now the world's most productive farms.

Critics say the subsidies benefit mostly large agribusiness corporations rather than small family farms, contribute to excessive federal spending and act as a barrier to free trade. An EWG analysis found that 10 percent of recipients get 72 percent of the nation's farm aid.
Ouch! Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. Literaly. Now we have thousands of Nebraska farmers, that have not voted for anyone without an "R" next to their name since Johnson, screaming that they're not going to survive. Sadly, many will not. They will be forced to sell off the family farm, many of which have been in the family for generations, to the agribusiness corporations. Part of me thinks that it will be a sad day when the last family farms is turned over to a corporation...but, another part of me thinks that, "Well...you did it to yourselves.". Oddly enough, it was FDR and Truman, that initiated the Farm Subsidies that farmers have grown so dependant upon.
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Old 03-01-2005, 11:48 AM   #2 (permalink)
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The farm subsidy programs are actually a national security issue. Do we really want to place the sole responsibilty of our food supply in the hands of foreign countires? Not me, and I think it's dangerous that the Bush Admin wants to place these caps on farmers. I know a lot of y'all don't care much for the red state farmers, but look at it this way: At least the farmland won't be used for a Walmart, KMart, or family housing with cul-de-sacs.
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Old 03-01-2005, 12:25 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I've always thought the farm subsidies were wrong to begin with. I'm in favor of letting the market decide and making sure the land is used in the most valuable way. Subsidies, just don't fit in with my beliefs.

Most of the subsidies granted by the government are in the form of cheap water. Out west you have farmers growing rice in areas that just aren't suited for that sort of thing, and with out super-cheap water, farmers would never be able to grow any. Personally, I think the water should go where it has the highest value, and the value is placed by the market. Government subsidies only act toward inefficiencies.
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Old 03-01-2005, 04:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Location: Austin, TX
I was wondering if anyone agrees with farm subsidies and if so, why?

I really don't understand how it benefits America to hand over money to people for not growing crops. The idea is absurd to me.

Also, I have family that lives in the "country" as we call it down here that own farms/land/ranches. As far as I know, they never received any money from the government, nor do I think they need it.

Can someone tell me why farm subsidies are a good idea?

PS. I am an economics major.
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Old 03-01-2005, 04:35 PM   #5 (permalink)
whosoever
 
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i'm not sure if i think the subsidies were a wise investment...but it does seem ironic that bush is willing to do this to a large voter bloc. plain sucks for these farming communities, tho. the mega-agribusinesses will move in and suck a lot of the profits out of the area. it's wealth concentration, and i don't see that as a good end.
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Old 03-01-2005, 05:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I think (not sure) that he conventional wisdom is that subsidies for farms are a good idea for the same reason people think Kyoto etc. are bad. It's all about protecting US interests (economic etc).

I agree that they're unwarranted. Especially with the water rights in California. Charge market rates for usage and maybe people will conserve instead of watering thier lawns at noon and in the rain during a water shortage. Same with growing rice here, makes no sense, wrong climate and topology. Same with tariffs on foreign agriculture. If they can do it cheaper and better (i.e.-Chinese garlic) then let the consumer decide. I thought we were about free trade and stuff.
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Old 03-01-2005, 05:27 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I was under the impression a farm subsidy is not the government paying the farmers to not grow crops, but instead to grow crops. The government subsidies the farmers to grow crops and basically buys a fixed amount from them at a fixed price. Then the food the government can't use or save is typically destroyed. The advantage of farm subsidies is if there is ever a draught or disaster of some sort we will have the saved up food suply and not be dependent on others. In addition it keeps farms in buisness so we can produce food when we need it. Letting the market dictate crops would be foolish because it would cause a lot of runs on food which could cause famin in some areas.
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Old 03-01-2005, 05:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I think the surplus is usually distributed to charities like the Salvation Army and foreign aid and also given to seniors, welfare recipients. Usually pounds of cheese, butter etc.
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Old 03-01-2005, 05:55 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Yeah some surplus is given away, but it is actually hard to give it away. Most countries won't take it because it would destroy their economy.
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Old 03-01-2005, 06:45 PM   #10 (permalink)
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We undersell our surplus on the world market, which severely damages many third world economies that must rely on agricultural output but can't undersell U.S. products.

I think this should be a free market issue. Farm subsidies serve no purpose anymore. There really are very few family farms. I'm out in Iowa, and there just aren't many. Furthermore, the vast majority of subsidy money goes to large agribusiness, not family farmers. They don't really need the help, they just get it.
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