- Editor's Note -

I’m glad the Farm Bill only comes
around once a decade

By Amanda Huber

This Farm Bill has been a constant source of disappointment, from beginning to nearly the end, if in fact it does end soon.

It began with the former Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Johanns’, “listening” sessions, which were a farce, if you ask me, only to release a Farm Bill that was simply what the Administration wanted and involved no real producer input.

Then, Johanns up and leaves just as negotiations were beginning. Obviously, he was moved by those listening sessions – moved all the way home to Nebraska.

Now, a Farm Bill agreement has finally been reached, and it’s not perfect by any means, but it’s workable. And what does current Secretary of Ag., Ed Shafer, say on behalf of the Administration?

“At a time of record farm income, Congress decided to further increase farm subsidy rates, qualify more people for taxpayer support and move programs toward more government control.” You can read more of his statement on the page opposite.

Record farm income? What about the record production input costs? Record fertilizer and fuel costs? Record number of producers getting out of farming? I’m not sure that I could say what he said with a straight face and then rest my head on a pillow at night and sleep.

One of the growers I talked with this month for the article on the Tifguard variety, said, “When the price shot up and I thought I was going to be able to make a good profit on peanuts, I got kind of excited…for about two minutes.” That’s about how long it took for the profit margin to remain in place before input costs shot up and eroded his hopes for a good profit.

I guess I can just be glad that the Farm Bill only comes around once a decade. If it came more often than that, we could all buy stock in Rolaids and probably come out with a better profit margin.