Agriculture and Economics: A year in review

Published on: 21:38PM Dec 21, 2010

Matt Bogard


This radio broadcast from AgriTalk with NCBA president Steve Foglesong pretty well sums up many of the major issues in agriculture and economic policy for 2010.  As he says, GIPSA is another example of excessive government overreach, among other things including the takeover of the financial industry, the auto industry, as well as proposed regulations on dust and greenhouse gases, not to mention proposed tax increases on thousands of family farms and ranches.


The year started out with a great movie, Avatar, which taught us about what is and isn’t capitalism, as well as the relationship between property rights and environmental  sustainability.  


This was a great year for agvocating as well. Pilot Travel and Yellow Tail can attest to the risks of supporting groups with anti-agricultural agendas in the age of social media.


Much of the airtime this year was spent covering the BP oil spill, which demonstrated the risks and disincentives associated with government regulation.  Also from this came the notoriously un-American ‘government’s got its boot on our throat’ comment.


This year several companies removed high fructose corn syrup from their food ingredients perpetuating what amounts to an "ose"gate   (a term coined by my Uncle Sonny) conspiracy against family corn farmers. 


We also saw financial reform, and although it didn’t address the root causes of the financial crisis, it did provide more handouts to Wall Street in addition to having a negative impact on agriculture.


Things may be looking up though, Ron Paul (see New York Times) has recently been named as the chairman of the house domestic monetary policy subcommittee. Given Paul is one of the few elected officials that understands the causes of the crisis and how to prevent them, we could finally get some serious discussion of meaningful financial reform. We’ve also seen a turnaround on tax policy. Earier this year we had the following comments from treasury secretary Timothy Geithner regarding extension of the tax cuts:


"That broad philosophy helped produce the worst financial crisis and the worst recession we’d seen in generations."


After looking at the evidence, our leaders have reversed this position and opted for at least a temporary extension of tax cuts for thousands for family farms and businesses.


 Happy New Year and Merry Christmas.