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U.S. Farm Report Mailbag

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Farm Bill Debate

Mar 18, 2009
   I am writing in response to John Phipps' end commentary on March 14th's show.  The problem with the farm bill or any other government program is that they will never be fair.  Giving someone something for nothing and not others is never fair and that is what farm subsidies, bailouts, welfare, etc. are, free money.  I truly hope they never give anything to livestock producers, it would ruin the industry and its market.  Bailouts are unfair, the discussion now rages about home mortgage bailouts.  Handouts would be given to those who could never afford the mortgages in the first place, while those who have been making their payments get nothing, outrageous.  But this is not a new concept without precedence.  In the early 1980's farm land values collapsed, those farmers who had gotten themselves in over their heads could not make their mortgage payments.  There were others who were in financial trouble but were making their payments.  PCA and others, through a government supported bailout, simply wrote off the worst producers debt and handed their farms back to them for free.  Was that fair to the farmers who were struggling, but making their payments?  America is made great through the freedom and entrepreneurial spirit that is made possible by a capitalist system.  This means though that you have as much right to fail as succeed, in the end it is up to you.  This system is what produces the best and most efficient and weeds out what is not.  Yet, the federal government, with its current Congress and Administration want to lead us down the same tired path.  Mostly this is just to sound good, with a good deal of ideology thrown in, in order to sustain job security through entitlements.

Jamestown, ND

   I do not like the present farm program because it cost the taxpayers money and does not help us enough. The safety net established is not adequate for our cost of production in 2009. I would like to make a profit from what I produce and not government payments. I would very much like your comments on an idea I have. I would like to know if you think it would work or why you think it would not. The previous loan program before 1985 gave us a good floor price for our commodities. Our reserves grew to the point that we had too much in storage. My idea now for this day and age is similar to the loan program but different. I would like for USDA to buy commodities that they can store when that commodity is below what USDA figures to be the national average cost of production plus handling. This commodity would be considered as a reserve for our nations benefit for bad years. They could sell and buy new commodities to keep it fresh as required but other wise they could not sell the commodity until the national average price to the farmer reached 150% of the price given when purchased. This should prevent excessive prices that were seen in 2008. It would benefit farmers, cattleman, and the ethanol industry. USDA I would hope could make a profit from storing the commodity and at the same time have a reserve for bad years. Farmers saw what happens to input prices when our price went high. The competition for the inputs was too much for the supply. There needs to be some rules established to prevent the reserve from getting to large. Another way to reduce the reserves and I think is needed just as much as a floor for our production is charity to people in need of food word wide. This should aid in National Defense and reduce terrorism against our country.
Sincerely Yours,
David W. Smith
Hart, Texas

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