Farm Bill Needs To End Direct Payments, Add Environmental Requirements


Readers of Caffeinated Politics have long seen a widget on the right-hand side of the blog alerting them to a site that showcases how too many farmers wind up farming the government treasury.  It is interesting to note that I have had conversations with real farmers who decry the abuse that happens with agriculture subsidies, and see a need for real reform when Washington crafts a new farm bill.

For instance a Monona man who farmed thousands of acres in three Wisconsin counties received  $32,000 in subsidies in 2010 and more than $1 million since 1995, according to  the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit that tracks subsidies.  That is simply outrageous considering, as this editorial notes, that same Monona man lives in a $1.1 million home on the lake, begging the  question of need.

Members of the house and senate are sitting down and starting work at  creating, and hopefully passing, budget related bills that will address national requirements.    They are working on the farm bill and I am most pleased that there is movement towards a more sane approach to direct payments.   

Direct payments, farm subsidies that cost the government almost $5 billion annually, would be phased out in both bills, with the savings split between other subsidy programs and deficit reduction. Direct payments have been controversial because they are paid out every year regardless of crop prices or crop yield. The Senate bill would eliminate the program immediately, while the House bill would phase it out over the next two years for cotton farmers who rely on the program.

Meanwhile I am very interested in the proposed requirement that environmental standards be imposed for those who get crop insurance.

Both bills would increase subsidies for federally subsidized crop insurance and create a new crop insurance program that covers small revenue losses on planted crops. This revenue protection program favors Midwestern corn and soybean farmers and would be more generous in the Senate bill. The Senate bill also includes language that would lower government crop insurance subsidies for the wealthiest farmers — an amendment added on the Senate floor over the objections of Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. In addition, the Senate bill includes language that would require farmers who get crop insurance to comply with certain environmental standards. House Agriculture Committee leaders are firmly opposed to that provision.

Why Take AR-15 Assault Rifles To Appleton Farmers’ Market?

These men might just try taking Viagra.

shot Ar 15 inside bedroom


I am at a loss to explain how anyone could think carrying deadly weapons in public is a sound idea.   Around Wisconsin there is still a large percentage of people who understand the lunacy that this represents when anyone almost anywhere can carry around weapons like that pictured above.  There is no doubt that some twisted message was trying to be imparted by such an action of showing off the weapons in Appleton.  Whether it was an attempt at intimidation or sending a political message one thing is clear.  The behavior was not appropriate.

Those toting the weapons always have the same mantra in that they are all abiding by the law and able to control the weapons they carry.  If they were truly sane, however, they would know how to better conduct themselves in society and keep the weapons at home.

Not until more people with common sense stand up and decry this lowest common denominator type of behavior will policy ever change.  That means holding the Wisconsin GOP accountable for the lack of attention and concern they exhibit over a whole raft of gun legislation.    While NRA money runs deep and corrupts both sides of the aisle there is no doubt which party is more beholden to the special interests of the gun lobby.

Concerned residents sent a flurry of emails to Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna after two men showed up armed with assault rifles near the city’s farmers market, according to a new analysis.

A few emails supported the men’s Second Amendment rights, but most were from residents who threatened to stay away from future public events if firearms could be present, the Post Crescent Media reported.

“As long as there are people with guns walking around this city, my family will not be,” wrote Adam Fredrick, of Appleton.

The men were carrying AR-15 assault rifles legally near the market on Sept. 7. Police detained them at gunpoint and handcuffed them before eventually releasing them without tickets.

“If these idiots are this paranoid perhaps they should stay home and protect their fortress and not wander around on the streets,” Mary Rutten, of Appleton, wrote of the men. “I do not want to live like this where people feel they have to carry guns to protect themselves at a public and/or family event.”