Farmers’ ethics no longer what they once were |

Farmers’ ethics no longer what they once were

GARY B. REIMERBreckenridge

Farmers in our Federal government see no conflict with their interests. Morgan Liddick (And On the Right, June 16) and Thomas Jefferson pine for free holding yeomen in Government who would act in the best interests of the Nation as a whole. Current actions by farmers in Government and particularly in the Congress prove just the opposite, and their efforts to pick our pockets proceed unabated. Aside from the annual farm bills and particularly the Freedom to Farm Act – which continue to shovel billions of taxpayer dollars to a few cotton and sugar growers as well as Midwest farmers – we are now presented with the Ethanol Boondoggle and Treasury Raid. Ethanol interests receive something like a 50 cents a barrel subsidy on production together with a 50 cent tariff on imported ehtanol. Many economists estimate that these incentives together with other manufacturing and transportation costs make ethanol the least attractive alternative source of energy, production of which consumes more energy than it produces (gas emissions from ethanol manufacturing is another story). Taking their lead from Congress, farmers are now planting record amounts of corn for ethanol and not for feed stocks. As a consequence the price of food to the consumer has gone up and will continue to go up.A case in point. One farmer in Congress is Senator Grassley of Iowa who sits on the Senate Finance Committee. He has an 800-acre farm and earns some $300,000 from farming operations and, in addition, more that that in support payments from the Federal government. Citizens elected to the Congress do not have to give up their farms and ranches nor should they be forced to do so. Be that as it may, Mr. Liddick should realize that the small holder envisioned by Jefferson (20-30 acres and a slave or two to do the work) and by Willie Nelson and Jane Fonda (160 acres, a few pigs, a couple cows and some chickens) does not exist and has not existed for at least 100 years in the case of the former and 60 years in the case of the latter.

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