Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Life slows down AND The Farm Bill

Sometimes, life just becomes too hectic and there aren't enough hours in the day. I know, I know, I keep singing that song on here - the fact that there isn't time to accomplish everything. But substituting full time, still coaching, planning a wedding, and writing articles and meeting deadlines kept me hopping for six weeks.

And now, I think I might actually be ready to return to my normal writing routine. Sure, there are still days filled with substitute teaching, but the other pressures have subsided and I can finally concentrate on my career. Oh, and probably a little bit on the farming side of it. Honestly, I don't know that much about the farm, but I am slowly learning.

A week ago, we spent our Friday evening watching Bill Moyer's show on NET public TV. The show featured a group of Washington Post reporters who showed how farm subsidies were paid to farmers who did not have any reason to receive the money. The story focused on the possibility of drought - which did affect a few counties in Texas that year - and the explosion of the space shuttle. Since debris from the wreck was supposedly scattered across the area, farmers could claim disaster relief, even though the majority of the farmers weren't affected by the explosion.

Shouldn't the intent of the bill be to assist farmers who truly need the money and suffer a disaster during the year instead of giving it to farmers who weren't affected but because of vague wording, received millions of dollars?

Moyer discussed the food stamp program and how for people who truly need it, the program is a blessing, but because of problems with the farm bill, there might be trouble for the program. The guest speaker mentioned that one of the problems with the program is that it doesn't cover expenses for an entire month. And for families who live below the poverty level - or even lower middle-class families who can't afford to put food on the table due to increased costs - the program is necessary.

I hear people complain because milk is over $4.50 a gallon and eggs are around $2.50 for a dozen. But people who don't follow the food chain and how it goes from field to table don't understand that those dairy cattle are being fed corn that is selling for close to $5.50 a bushel, so feeding that herd of cattle is costly to the farmer. Then there's the cost of operating the dairy, including the milk truck who picks up the milk each day, the processing of the product, the transporting of said product to the grocery store and finally the product is put on the shelf for a consumer to purchase. How much of that investment does the farmer actually make? Not much.

No comments: