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June 2013 Archive for U.S. Farm Report Mailbag

RSS By: U.S. Farm Report, US Farm Report

Comments, questions, opinions...this is your chance to speak out regarding anything and everything reported on U.S. Farm Report. Viewer feedback updated regularly.

Viewers Speak: Subsidies, GMO's & China

Jun 24, 2013

***The following viewer comments were received in response to the July 22-23, 2013 edition of U.S. Farm Report…

#1:  John, I watch your program every Sunday morning prior to going to church. I find it very
interesting and informative.  You said you were opposed to all farm subsidies. I have to agree with you, because most farmers would rather receive their price from the market alone. I am a sugar beet grower for Amalgamated Sugar, a grower owned cooperative. Please tell me what will happen to the domestic
sugar industries if we do not have some sort of protection from all of the imports, etc?  Our domestic
sugar growers will go by the wayside, the US will lose all the farm machinery sales, lost jobs, lost sugar factories, and now we are at the mercy of other countries for our sugar needs. The one that benefits most is the confectionary industry. They already are making a good profit, and when the price of sugar goes down, the price of the candy bar does not go down.
     You only have to go back to about 1972 or a year either side of that when we did not have a sugar program for one year. What happened?  The price of sugar went sky high. The sugar program as written provides a steady supply of sugar, and at a reasonable price. Let’s not go back to sugar ration coupons like during WWII, neither you nor me can remember them, but let that be a reminder of what could happen.
      I have been a sugar beet grower for over 40 years, and like my Uncle who is a retired farmer once told me SUGAR BEETS pays the bills, and Potato's buys a Cadillac every once in a while. You have to realize I farm in Eastern Idaho the largest potato producing area in the US. Also what happens if all of the beet acreage is abandoned?  Does it go into producing more potato's, or wheat, further over supplying the market?   Thank you John for listening to me.  You have a very interesting program. Looking forward to hearing back from you.  Larry Bethke – American Falls, ID

#2:  I'm just a city kid (75) and I don't understand the problem with genetically modified wheat and corn.  Was someone poisoned by a loaf of bread or corn bread made from something genetically modified?  Did a consumer of such products grow an extra arm?  I suspect more paranoia from a politically-motivated group who has no appreciation or knowledge about the benefits.  I guess if a cure for cancer involved modifying a cancer patient's genes, they would object.  Hasn't nature been modifying genes for a couple of million years to the benefit of many species?  Get over it!  Robert Venlet

#3:  I would like to say that I like watching the program. But I would like to ask if you could put more livestock and dairy information into the news cast. The crop watch and market side is ok but that isn't all that is farmed in the U.S. I would like to see your program cover a lot more.  Repectfully, Jeff Riley

#4:  Unless the Chinese Government creates 150 million new jobs for the 250 million subsistence farmers they plan to force off the land, they could end up with millions of welfare recipients with no skills. This could plant the seeds for a massive rebellion.  


Viewers Speak: "Profit" Insurance, GMO's and Subsidies

Jun 17, 2013

***Editor’s Note:  The following comments were received following the June 15-16, 2013 edition of U.S. Farm Report…

#1:  John, although I am not a farmer, I believe we do need some type of insurance for farmers in case of natural disasters. However, it appears Crop Insurance or "Profit Insurance" has gotten out of hand.  With the millions of acres of grasslands and wetlands in North & South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and elsewhere being converted to corn – I feel we are on a collision course for another Dust Bowl that will sweep the entire Midwest and Plains States. In addition, corn-on-corn planting is just asking for super bugs, super weeds and a corn disease that could devastate agriculture. Where will it end? Will agriculture ever be able to have self-control, common sense, and a long-term view of what’s good for the soil and future generations of farmers? Are there any farmers or an association of farmers with a profit and soil conservation perspective that can band together and bring sanity to a greed-driven and politically supported agri-giant industrial complex that will eventually bring tax-payer scorn and likely massive federal government regulation once the Dust Bowl clouds start swirling and descending on cities and their voting population centers? Kevin – Minneapolis, MN

#2:  Regarding Nate Haas’ comments, I am wondering where he got his information. I’m a non-farmer and have been watching John for about five years, he has NEVER been in favor of farm subsidies...EVER, and I have always completely agreed with him. I talked to a farmer from California about ten years ago in LAS airport. He mentioned to me that most of the special subsidies go to very larger farms that have the money to retain attorneys. I’m afraid we still have way too many Attorneys.  Take care, Les

#3:  John, I agree that government payments and crop insurance has promoted land rent and land value out of control. However my FSA payments are less payment than my personal income tax. We are self-supporting aren't we? Or is the regular mid class tax payer percent of their tax going to make farmers overly rich?  I am a Missouri farmer, farming 2000 acres of row crops. I have thought the government should get out of farming. Carl Ferguson


#4: John, I am a fourth generation farmer from North Dakota, outside the Corn Belt.  My grandfathers and father have all told me about years when we/they have survived from the subsidy, granted the last three were not among them.  However, isn't the "players" to blame rather than the "game?"  For instance, we don't condemn sports when some individuals are caught cheating with performance enhancing drugs.  It is my opinion that there needs to be "teeth" in the policy much like anything else.

I would say eliminating the opportunity for large farmers to have countless entities would be a start.  Second, getting any subsidy over a certain amount per year back from those individuals would pay for the entire subsidy portion of the policy.  But halting alone would be a hell of a start, right? Example, if "Joe Farmer" wants to farm 30,000 acres and has eight entities and collects subsidies for all acres because he can, he is no longer capped at the $40,000 per year limit.  It would appear as though the 7 other entities at say $39,000 would equate to $273,000 of over expenditure.  I would say that would pay for roughly twenty average sized farms' subsidies. ($10/ acre at 1300 acres is $13,000/year, at least in North Dakota anyway).   Taxing everyone to keep food reasonable is logistics, having a system that people manipulate is asinine.  So, maybe our opinions aren't that far off. In closing John, I would like to ask you if you receive any government payments since you are dead set against them? If not, I applaud you for your persistence in your mindset. However if you do, aren't you being cynical towards your government and fellow producers?  Best regards, Eric Braaflat


#5:  To Al Pell, during the June 15-16 news, your group said the GMO wheat in Oregon wasn’t a big issue.  Maybe the GMO issue won’t affect the Midwest a lot, but our PNW price has dropped from $7.85 Portland to $7.25 Portland IF someone issues a bid for soft white wheat.  Currently the USDA weekly report shows most exporters NOT offering bids for Soft White wheat.  This definitely affects WA, ID and OR as our wheat exports through Portland.  We can hope this issue is resolved quickly, but remember what happened with Mad Cow disease (BSE) when 1 cow from Canada showed positive here.  It took years to rebuild markets for beef due more to international politics than true risk.  I hope this market heals faster.  Sincerely, Art Swannack - Lamont, WA 

#6: I just watched the story on the Illinois Farm Families Field Mom program. Thank you for covering this very important project to connect consumers to farmers to start a dialogue about our food. At the beginning of the story, John Phipps stated that it was an Illinois Farm Bureau project.  It is a project of the Illinois Farm Families which is made up of a coalition from the Illinois Beef Association, Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Illinois Pork Producers, Illinois Soybean Association and the Illinois Farm Bureau.  All five organizations are working together on this project under the name of Illinois Farm Families.  Deb Moore - Farmer from Roseville, IL

#7: Thomas Grisafi Quote:  "Are you the 85% that look like you’re having a great crop, or are you part of that 15% that might not plant a seed".  85% great?.............Ignorant statement.

Steve Ellwood - Radcliffe Iowa


#8:  My wife and I are both displaced farm kids now living and working in the great Southwest. I follow agricultural matters daily. I think I must be one of the few that has read the farm bill currently in the Senate, how can they call it a farm bill when less than 15% of is even ag related?  Agriculture forms the backbone of the American economy and is an integral part of our proud heritage. Unfortunately, the current farm bill gives far less attention to the needs of farmers than it does to politicians and special interests. For an issue as critical to our nation's safety and American livelihoods as ensuring a reliable food supply, I am disappointed that Washington's cynical politics have again trumped any real reform. Any meaningful support for farmers in this trillion dollar bill is unnecessarily held hostage to the unchecked growth of food stamp entitlements and numerous other programs unrelated to farming. This farm bill costs 60 percent more than the 2008 bill. Nearly 80 percent of it is comprised of food stamps. It fails to provide a true safety net for difficult years, fails to fully target assistance to those most in need, and fails to prioritize farm aid over duplicative programs, subsidizing unrelated programs from green energy to housing.  Jeff Crum – Albuquerque, NM

#9:  John, I heard your diatribe about your predictions not coming true & GM foods. I sorry to say that you came across as a condescending know-it-all with your predictions on nuclear power plants, keyboards, the metric system, and of course public skepticism on GM foods. You're "naive assumption that hard evidence would win out in the end" was poorly worded. But who am I but an ignorant viewer. "Being scientifically correct and people taking a cafeteria approach to science in order to defend illogical preferences" really left me with a negative impression of you. If big-business GMOs are so good, what possible objections could you have to labeling them as such? A better question is, what are you trying to hide?  If you want everyone to switch keyboards, exactly who do you propose will pay to replace our 100s of millions of existing functional keyboards & who do you think you are to tell parents that they should take time away from their children to learn a new keyboard. If you want everyone to purchase new measuring cups and measuring spoons and convert every menu in every book & recipe card including those passed down through the generations & reprint every unit of measure on every food product in existence, what scientific evidence do you need to know that real people live outside this utopian bubble you seem to live in.  With regard to GM foods, imagine people being skeptical of big companies with a profit motive while being asked to ingest things modified at a molecular level. As Americans, we still have a right to be skeptical & certainly we should have the right to choose the foods we eat including non-GM foods. I'm not making a pro or con argument here. I'm saying, if you want to persuade me, than persuade me. DO NOT condecsend me or tell me I have lost my right to eat as I choose. I saw your show for the first time. I thought your commentary was full of extraordinary arrogance ... and regretfully ignorance, therefore I'm less likely to watch your show again. How's that for concrete evidence. Chris Broussard


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