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Honored Advisor

Tim Ryan`s farm plan

or my alternative post title "Unfortunately Tim Ryan is a damned Democrat"  Smiley Happy   Tim Ryan has some common sense on farm policy, however he`d destroy the country in every other way.   Now I have that disclaimer out of the way, here`s Tim`s  plan for agriculture:

Improving Our Agriculture and Food System

It is time for us to help our farmers and fix our food system. Farmers are struggling. Obesity and diabetes rates are rising. There are so many communities without access to fresh produce. We need a comprehensive plan that strengthens our country’s small and regional farms, eliminates food deserts, and promotes healthy eating.

 

We can’t talk about food without first looking at our farm system. Our farmers are hurting. Retaliatory tariffs from China have lowered prices. Extreme weather has delayed the planting of crops and even destroyed some crops. This is leaving many farmers unsure of what the future holds. We need to strengthen and expand safety nets for farmers, such as crop insurance. We need to protect farmers against unpredictable circumstances.

 

As President, I will push for a Farm Bill and agriculture policy that moves our country’s food system forward. We need to promote sustainable farming practices. We need to support local and organic farms. We need to start city farming programs. We need to teach people about conservation practices. Most importantly, we need to increase access to healthy, fresh foods for all Americans.

 

We need to enact federal policies that protect family farms. The numbers don’t lie. Big producers of crops get billions of dollars in subsidies each year. While the smaller, regional farmers producing diversified specialty crops receive next to nothing. Additionally, 60% of these subsidies go to corn and other grains. Only 0.45% goes toward fruits and vegetables. This is unacceptable. Government subsidies need to shift away from highly processed foods, and more to fruits, vegetables, and organic farms.

 

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I wonder where agriculture would be if we had embraced a more natural, organic where it works path for farming?  See in the past if you mentioned organics, you`d get shot down with "Who ya gonna pick to starve??? huh? huh? Who ya gonna pick to starve?"  And that was the conversation stopper right there.  But look at the "cheap food policy" path and it was the farmer that was "picked to starve".

I was in organics on a small scale using family CRP ground that came out of the program, the farming part of it wasn`t bad, I grew up cultivating and "blind plowing" and planting later.  But there wasn`t the infrastructure for that method. You`d harvest your $22 beans and store them until the next June and then they`d go on a boat to Japan and when Japan got them, they`d send you a check (or so you hoped).  So you have to have enough capital to finance 2 crops on deck.  Also, the organic input suppliers wrote the rules so the only approved crop amendments were their high priced "sea weed extract" or whatever foo foo dust.  You could use Potassium Sulphate and soft rock phosphate, but it was higher price and the soft rock was very slowly available to the crop...and if you had high pH soil it would tie up.  All those good intention rules lead some organic farmers to mine their soil and turn their farm into a weed patch, because a rapid growing crop is a big part of weed control.

The go-go path of farming has lead to a burdensome carryover and some countries to ban imports the latest traited seed  grain production.  Ironically those traits are too expensive and many of us are back to planting conventional anyway.

The organic route would`ve been more successful had they allowed a "crop removal" amount of commercial fertilizer and a few other common sense changes.  I understand making high placed, small hoops for organic farmers to jump through preserved their high premium prices and maybe there would be a very niche market for uber organically produced crops. 

Had we chosen to go the route of Dick and Sharon Thompson, the farming  community would be better situated today.

https://www.sare.org/Learning-Center/Books/The-New-American-Farmer-2nd-Edition/Text-Version/North-Ce...

snip:

Economics and Profitability
Thompson carefully measures his input costs as well as his return against those of conventional farmers in the area and has seen real benefits to his system. Looking at a 16-year average, Thompson says, his neighbors lose about $42 per acre — before taking government payments into account. By contrast, he generates a profit of $114 per acre. The Thompsons have not received government subsidies for years, yet their diverse farm still supports two families without off-farm employment and without organic premiums.

“My neighbors are seeing a per-acre loss,” he says. “Integrating alternative practices — using all the residues and every corn stalk, making the most of everything, and working in tighter rotations, we’re getting a positive $114 gain to the acre. That’s a $156 difference.” In the last four years, that difference has reached as high as $205 more per acre.

Having oats and hay in the mix decreases the weed management by about $25 an acre in herbicide expenses. Manuring reduces their need for commercial fertilizer by another $25 an acre per year.

Thompson has taught himself how to repair farm equipment, a valuable skill that has saved him more than one crop. Having “simple” equipment rather than larger machines with computer components enables him to fix machines, saving him about $69 an hour in mechanic costs.

 

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12 Replies
Honored Advisor

Re: Tim Ryan`s farm plan

Not a plan..........flooding the market with "catch phrases" is not a plan...  just more nonsense based on mistruth.  Name me a county in the lower 48 that does not have access to "fresh produce" through our present grocery distribution system.  And do it without redefining the term "Fresh" or the term "Produce".  Out of season produce are at the widest distribution in history.

Catchy phrases for the central government expanders to love----fix our food system, comprehensive plan that strengthens our country’s small and regional farms,  our farm system, safety nets for farmers, our country’s food system, sustainable farming practices, support local and organic farms, city farming programs, conservation practices, increase access to healthy, fresh foods.

 

More catchy phrases Observations For the farm vote and all other big hearted old folk----farmers are hurting, weather delayed planting of crops and destroyed crops, farmers unsure of what the future holds, safety nets for farmers, protect farmers against unpredictable circumstances, safety nets for farmers

 

Finally the last paragraph tells us how little Tim knows about agriculture..... and how our current farms work.

1--enact federal policies that protect family farms ---Federal policies have been key to the drop in small farms as well as small businesses on main street.  Regulating small farming nearly out of existence by protecting safety and environment has pushed the cost of equip beyond the reach of small farms, technology has pushed effeciency to a cost that takes thousands of acres to farm.  Costs that force spouses off the farm to second jobs and regulations that force farm children off the farm for part time employment.

2 --  Big producers of crops get billions of dollars in subsidies each year  ---while true it is a used as a lie...  It is a result of federal programs and the push to technology.  It is what you have when 75% of the small farms are already gone.  His reference to small farming is a token lie...... they existed in the day of Ozzie and Harriet, but not today not even in Iowa.  Today small farmers are older investors who own land, teachers, nurses, bank empooyees or their spouses etc who farm in their spare time --at best a two job employee or family.  The 20% of farmers that are the biggest raise 80-85% of the food.  if You subsidize a crop to keep it plentiful and cheap these days your going to pay big producers.  What's left is unsustainable not because they are small, but because the US standard(cost) of living as defined by congress, is beyond a small farms reach.  But it is a politically effective lie that most never think about long enough to understand.

3. smaller, regional farmers producing diversified specialty crops receive next to nothing--- an absolute lie totally.  Regional diversified specialty crop farming is very successful when found close to large market areas.  We see their names in our local grocery stores.  But our urbanization of mass numbers in less than 25 large metro areas does not support large numbers of them.  Urbanization creates another size issue .  Politicians and their usda policies envisions american gothic family farms.  Yet Urban areas demand supply and success of a small regional farmer means he is handling 500k to a million gross sales to be able to make a wage that meets the cost of living close to an urban center.  If they sell that much produce they are now a target to the #2 lie and cut off from government programs.  Kind of a catch 22.  We all want to buy that Brahms milk but hate those big farmers.... ignorance of the urban voter.

4.  60% of these subsidies go to corn and other grains. Only 0.45% goes toward fruits and vegetables..... a real mixed bag of lie, sort of truth, and ignorance.......... 1. corn and other grains is actually 20 different commodities that directly provide the bulk of what is found in the grocery store.(proteins to grain products and products that include soy) Corn is by far the most widely used commodity within the US by human and animals if you want it to be cheap and available you are going to subsidize the folks who produce 80%.  though they may be less than 500,000 people.  3. insinuated lie--- fruits and veg. represent small farms..... no... probably the area of food source that is most concentrated in corporate ownership and has been for years.  Fruits and vegs in our urban centers are most likely to be sourced from California's mega farms or unloaded off a boat from another country.  Many great sources of smaller production exist in the country like colorado peaches and melons from smaller farms but urbanization is not supporting them and usda is more likely to blame them and penalize them than to help them with the ever present risk of production and food safety.  More likely to go after the small US producers than Dole production from Honduras  or the ever present produce from Mexico.   Liberal voters think they have local and fresh..... yet when you buy organic labels they are very often produced outside the US.

 Sometimes you read things that are obvious propaganda/feel good phrases stacked on top of each other.  Tim is going to have to step it up to distinguish himself.  This stuff has been recycled a lot.

 

 

Honored Advisor

Re: Tim Ryan`s farm plan

a couple of facts ---- source usda budget summary 2018.

"Big producers of crops get billions of dollars in subsidies each year"

The total budget for usda is @ $140 billion  per year

actually 820,000 farmers who produce most of the grain production in the US recieve @5.3 billion and that is descretionary spending which means that there is not guarantee it will happen in any year.

Conservation programs pay both former and present farmers  @ $5.6 billion not to produce--- farms in grass programs and others.

"Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Child Nutrition programs, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)  require $104.5 billion annually from the usda budget"   

the remaining 23 million includes rural housing for the poor, rural community development, loans to socially disadvantaged farmers, rural infrastructure, rural REA(5.5 billion annually) etc etc

In short over 80% of the usda budget is social welfare to poor and poor communities.  And our politicians want to make political votes out of the 3.1 Billion that went to corn farmers that may have produced millions in sales yet probably haven't shown a profit the last 3 years even after the subsidy check did or didn't show up.   Then the neighbor writes complaints at how much he thinks his neighbor got after he listens to his DNC candidate.

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Tim Ryan`s farm plan

Keep  in  mind,  we  still  have  a  200  year   supply  of  precious  (sorta) metal  underlying ,  Northeast  Wyoming    -  -  -  

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Tim Ryan`s farm plan

I  forgot  to  mention  Montana,  N  Dakota,  Mississippi  River Region,  an  of  course Appalachia ,  and  South East  -  -  -

Update  me  on  their  $ub$idy  posture,  mega  position  -  due  to  oversupply  or  un-demand  -  ?      

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Honored Advisor

Re: Tim Ryan`s farm plan

Over regulation, that can kill an industry you know.

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Tim Ryan`s farm plan

Sucking  Mega  $$$$$$   out  the  back  door,  can  also  -  -   -

OR  read  about  the  4  guys  -  1  Missourian  &  3  Cornhuskers ,  about  Organic  Over  Regulations.   -  oh  to  late  the  Missouri  fellow  did  a   self  check  out  &  those  extra  Millions  seem  to  have  less  luster -  - 

Is  over  regulation  killing  the  milking  industry,   or  would  it  be  those  new  Autonomous   Almond  Milking  systems - ?

Instant  Export  Over  Regulations  -  maybe  -  ?      

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Frequent Contributor

Re: Tim Ryan`s farm plan

Pretty tough to see where the dominant player in today's corn belt agriculture- the people who've rounded up the 2000 acres plus to reach the required scale- can really make radical changes.

But there are different ways of getting there too. I know a guy who, granted, has a small amount of family and and acquired some more back in the day when he was milking (single family dairy, earned every penny).

But he and his wife farm 1000 acres without any hired labor, do it very well and appear to do right well.

They've got good stuff so I assume their per acre equipment cost might be to the high side but they don't hire any labor and do a very good job at what they do.

I guess the question that begs is that back in the day there was a path in farming for people willing to milk cows or work with hogs. That path seems a lot narrower today.

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Honored Advisor

Re: Tim Ryan`s farm plan

Driving through the country, I notice a lot of for sale  and "Upcoming Auction" signs on land.  In the not so distant past, there was nothing in the way of land for sale for all the tea in China.  But, I suppose the banker nudged them to sell a 80 or quarter make approval in the committee easier for their operating note. 

If someone gets in position to trade machinery every couple years, even if you`re over-equiped it`s kind of a good investment when they retire. That newer low hour machinery doesn`t depreciate much, probably much less than the straight line 5 or 7 year schedule.   But it helps if it`s a green line with all the service records, wash & waxed and in the shed.

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Back when fuel was high, there was a story about something like  a "5,000 mile sandwich" where the lettuce came from California, the bread from Wisconsin, the pork from North Carolina, the tomato from Florida ect and you figured all the fuel and handling those ingredients it was many miles of expense.  

If the produce could be grown locally and in NCIA we grow watermelon, muskmelon, lettuce, tomatoes we have local lockers that process meat.  If more purchased that locally grown produce it could help the small boarded up communities.  And there are greenhouses too for out of season production...toss up of LP gas to heat a greenhouse in the winter or import produce from Mexico.

But some counties are zoned where if you are going to build a house you need at least 40 acres, well maybe a "truck farm" only needs 10 acres...good luck finding a farmer to sell 10 acres off his square pretty section of land.  Though according to my above paragraphs, perhaps buying a 10 acre plot will will get easier.   Smiley Happy

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Tim Ryan`s farm plan

If   I  was  betting  on  a  new  farm  plan  deal,  it  could  sound  like  this  -  6  row  planter  -  6%   - OFF   your  ''  crop  insurance  '''   -   12  row   -  12%    -      24  row  -  24%  off    - 

 The   ''  Real  Deal ''   being  a  48  row  -  -  -    

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