Thursday, December 21, 2006

It's hard to not see this as welfare...

While I agree that the bigger farming operations should not be getting subsidies, after reading this Washington Post article, it's hard to not see this as similar to welfare:

While some farmers and agricultural experts see a downside to farm subsidies, others say the payments are a fair way to help out farmers in need. "Some years, that's probably what I live on," Steve Loschen said. "Honest to goodness. It helps me stay current on equipment payments and helps pay for my health care. It pretty much covers my family living expenses."

Loschen, 40, grows corn, wheat and soybeans on more than 1,500 acres in Franklin County, Neb., about 30 miles from the Kansas state line. In the past five years, he has received nearly $300,000 in government payments and disaster aid. "Really, if you look at the average of what I have received, I am at the middle to bottom of individuals who actually made their livelihood on the farm," he said.

Loschen draws a distinction between landlords who capture government payments without farming and full-time farmers such as himself who assume all the risks of growing a crop. "This is not welfare for me," he said. "I'm not trying to get rich. I'm trying to make a living. My definition of a family farmer is they're the guys who are actually doing the work."

Seriously, my own family isn't doing exactly great right now, hence me doing what I can to earn some extra income. We are the ones really doing all of the work and as the Washington Post article points out right now, corn farmers are making a profit, which we as consumers pay for:

Last year was a good year, even with low prices. The yields on Loschen's crops were good, and he was able to sell a few bushels in advance at above-average prices. He also received about $60,000 in federal payments. "Last year was a great year. My net worth grew a little. If I could do that year in and year out, that would be good."

In recent months, prices for corn have shot up dramatically, in part due to the growing demand for corn-based ethanol. Prices have been running about $3.50 a bushel, more than $1.50 a bushel above last year's prices, Loschen said. He estimated that farmers need $2.75 a bushel to cover their costs. "We can make a living at these prices," he said.

Helping farmers is important especially when some time of natural disaster strikes them, yet when it gets to the point where they are making a profit and still collecting federal assistance? It makes me wonder...


Me4Prez said...

I saw an article about Iowa farmers receiving over a billion dollars in subsidies because of Katrina and shipping problems on the Mississippi. Most of it went to large or corporate farms though. I think it was in the Des Moines Register. I will have to look

Stephanie said...

Large corporate farms do get most of the subsidies, because they have the strongest pull with legislators. The farm subsidies aren't fair, and that's the simple truth. However, they do a lot of good for the people who really need it and get it. It's just make sure they're the ones who actually gets it that's the problem. Especially considering lobbying is involved.

Hooda Thunkit said...

Welfare, with all of its waste and inefficiencies. Government at its worst.