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Monday, February 15, 2010

Silly things on National Public Radio about farmers

I swear the people who comment on the NPR website are such morons.  See below link...
Black Farmers Rally For Discrimination Settlement
I would like to know the real story here. The government farm programs are a pain in the butt. So much depends on who is working in the local office. I personally think small independent sorts of farmers have been discriminated against for years. The farm programs tend to steer you into a more agri-business sort of farm. Lots of rented ground and lots of commodity crops.
But, I thought there were lots of loans and support available to minority farmers. In recent years much more attention has been given to smaller alternative type farms and I would have thought attention would be given to black farmers as well.
I of course have serious doubts about anything I hear on NPR but I would like to know what is going on here. Why would there be a pattern of discrimination against black farmers? I would think that the farm service agencies would have 100 percent participation as a major goal-just so they can tell us all what to do. Unless, there are unethical people in the organization who are steering ground to their favorite farmers. I could see that happening.
The pull quote is to the effect that young black farmers leave the farm as they see a pattern of discrimination against the older farmers. I think this is just the typical virtue of the oppressed sort of thing and perhaps a bit out of date. Young people can see that you have to have considerable resources in order to start farming. Most advice you get from schools or farm service agencies is pretty much crap. You either have to know the right people to give you land or you have to have the money to outbid everyone else to get it yourself. Do you want to borrow $500,000 to make $10,000? Do you want to have a million dollar equipment loan? Do you want to pay $250 an acre rent to perhaps make $1 per acre.  In order to break into farming you will have to know the right person or work for the right person in order to be in the right place at the right time.
The alternative is to have another job and to work your way in through farming small fields, custom work, and doing crap that no one else will do. It is a hard way to go and it is hard to break into.
Of course the idiots that comment on NPR stories think farmers are living on government welfare payments. They don't mention how they are subsidized.


  1. I was going to leave my comment on the NPR site, but they didn't like my conservative odor or something and wouldn't accept my two cents worth.

    Within my memory, my family has been in four types of land-oriented businesses--dairy farming, beef cattle, sawmilling and Christmas trees. We never got one red cent of price supports or financial help from Uncle Sam (the dairy went out years ago). When beef cattle tanked, when lumber sunk, when Christmas trees "dried up", not one soul ever offered to support OUR markets! So what's everybody bitching about? Suck it up and take it like a man--black OR white!

    I'm not for price supports anyway; they create artificial markets which lead to further overproduction, which in turn brings more price supports and dependancy on government handouts (with a resulting loss of freedom). As for blacks getting less help in any other way, I don't buy it; poor whites aren't getting any help either (re-read last sentence in previous paragraph)!

  2. Gorges,
    We apply for whatever we can get. Government disaster loans have saved out bottoms. We get money to do conservation programs, we got paid to experiment with no-till and minimum tillage. I gripe about the programs and I think they are a pain in the bottom but we use them.
    We farm river bottom ground and we know more and more regulations are on the way. We decided we would get paid to do the programs rather than be forced to do it with no pay.
    I find it hard to believe that the programs are racially biased. But, I've heard it many times. A lot depends on the local government officials. I've heard of some serious corruption in the past. Don't know what to believe.
    I don't like the government handouts as I think it distorts the markets. We probably should not be farming but it is all we know, so we take the money. You do what you have to do-well, within reason.
    On the other hand, I have a lot of respect for those who don't take the money. If you don't take the money the government can't tell you what to do. You can farm your highly erodable or wetlands and you won't have to worry about giving back all your payments. The farm service agency folks like to have this control That is why I don't see them targeting racially, I think they want everyone they can get.

  3. I meant to say, "government loans have save our bottoms."

  4. Let me try it again, "government loans have saved our bottoms." I shouldn't type so fast and not proof it first.

  5. The way I understood the story the black farmers were turned down for FSA loans, either operating loans or mortgages. This all dates back to 1999 and earlier.

  6. Mr. 706 has it right. Farmers were turned down for FSA loans. This would be up to the loan officers or committee and would be more subject to human/local/individual bias than say, general acceptance and participation in FSA programs.

  7. I don't blame anyone for using the system once it's there, but that very system is a lot of what caused the problems to begin with. The only way we can dismantle the system at this time is VERY, VERY slowly or we will put the very last of American farmers out of business.

    A perfect example is tobacco (or at least the way it USED to be). First, they try to limit the acreage to keep the price up. Then they really tax any tobacco raised on non-permitted acreage to punish anyone who raises it without their permission. (I THINK there may have been a price-support payment if the sale price dropped, but it's been too long since I read all this stuff to be sure.) Then, they hit the consumer with an outrageous "sin tax" for using it, in part to pay for anti-smoking efforts. Now, they've made it illegal to smoke in public places, which is probably unconstitutional. Talk about cradle to grave manipulation!

  8. Gorges,
    As usual, I agree with you...


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