Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack (D) is a man not wasting time telling people they’re irrelevant and becoming moreso each day. In an Associated Press copyrighted story he says he’s upset with the squabbling taking place in the farm belt. Voter turnout was somewhere around the 14% mark of available voters. 61% of those voting did so for Romney/Ryan. 37% went to Obama.
A farm is any establishment producing and selling $1,000 or more of agricultural products during the year. (Government subsidies are included in sales.) In 1935, the number of farms in the United States was 6.8 million. The population was over 127 million citizens. Of the nearly 300 million people in America today, less than 1% are engaged actively in farming. That places the number of large, small and hobby related farming in the range of 2.1 million farms. It seems those people most needing to vote for representation against government regulation/interference would pay greater heed to their plight.
The farmer has little to appreciate where it concerns governmental interference. True, most regulations were allegedly for the protection of the consumer. Assuring cleanliness is at the forefront of poultry production (and other feeder lots) and the necessity that pesticide usage is disciplined and controlled is understandable. But controls need not be constrictive more than restrictive. It seems many guidelines are heavy-handedly overseen with major fines and punishments doled out by government regulators more interested in enforcement than assistance.
The American Farmer has been driven from the scene by governmental interference of the last fifty years. Family farm ownership has shrunk because of increased costs. More and more landmass is changing hands and consolidated because of low profits for independent farmers. The “small” farmer, finding himself in danger of over-regulation and (if found to be in violation) major monetary distress. This leads to the loss of generationally owned/operated farms. Government interference has led to a migration of families to cities or their suburbs.
Since 1997, only 47,000 farms accounted for 50% of gross sales of agricultural products. Small family farms are segmented into descriptive positions. They are: Retirement farms, Residential/Lifestyle Farms, Limited Resource Farms, Lower Sales Farms and Higher Sales Farms. Each category is determined by the amount of money derived from sales and the amount of money proving the family posted a profit.
Vilsack says the problem is with farmers homing in on what are called “wedge” issues. These are issues born of rumor and innuendo. But this also includes regulation and interference. He quotes the uproar concerning the EPA starting a draconian regulation concerning farm dust as a pollutant. He says Obama and his crew have stated repeatedly they have no such intent.
But, as an example of the distrust of government, it’s been seen Obama and his henchmen don’t really know what’s in The Affordable Care Act. It’s been proven many of the law’s provisions are in fact spelled out by detractors bookmarking and highlighting the offensive tracts. The expectation for “good faith” acceptance of the government’s “word of honor” would be comical if it weren’t so ludicrous. This is the same government wanting more space available for hens as egg producers. Some animal protective activists want to assure the relative comfort of hens during their egg-laying longevity while forgetting the same hen will be processed as a whole fryer in the near future. Each rule/regulation issued and/or posted controlling the farmer drops profits and hurts farmers without a doubt.
Vilsack asks how we’ll attract young people to remain in farming if we concentrate reactively on government interference rather than doing what’s best proactively to retain them. If government wanted to retain the young in an industry they need do no more than get out of the way of profits as realized by small farmers. Many young people are interested in farming. But, if government makes it unprofitable by allowing regulatory mandates issued without congressional oversight to stand in the way of profits by increasing expenditures to remain in compliance; why should they stay?
Nobody likes working for nothing. But Vilsack complaining about lack of farmer participation is almost funny because he’s a big part of the problem.
Thanks for listening.