Self-Reliance? Don’t Ask These Subsidized SD Senate Farmers


  1. You are not including the expenses. I don't know how much seed costs, but if you buy it at $2.89 a bushel and then after planting, fertilizing and spraying you only get $3.11 a bushel, the subsidies are paid to make up the difference. The little farmer making the $20,000/$30,000 a year needs that to keep farming. Reagan tried to get rid of the farm program at 10 per cent a year for 10 years. SD lost a lot of farms during his tenure. Planting fence post to fence post does not work. The markets are flooded with cheap commodities and no one makes any money. Then if there is a can a farmer take that loss and still farm next year..he can’t. Everyone who eats benefits from farm subsidies. Otherwise, Cargill and ADM will own the farms and set food prices. In the US we pay on about 12 per cent of our disposable income on food. In Europe some countries pay as much as 45 per cent and more. US citizens can then buy boats, new homes, new furniture, etc. The farm subsidies should be overhauled so people like Noem don't take out $3 million. Little farmers need it. The $250,000 cap which she voted against would have been a good start.
    Could you please revise your statement to include expenses in the subsidies paid to farmers?

  2. Farm subsidies seem on the surface to be a very bad thing. Anyone who has accepted payments from the government has their name listed on websites. Does this alone make them evil?

    The United States has pursued a policy of cheap food for decades. Only recently have prices for agricultural commodities gone beyond historical norms. Higher food prices are at the center of current unrest in many developing countries. Those demonstrations have caused spikes in oil prices that may derail the shaky recovery in the world economy.

    Members of the European Union subsidize their farms too. It's not just a US thing.

    Americans that accept government payments while standing on their soapboxes screaming about the waste in spending are all hypocrites to a certain degree. That list includes far more than just farmers.

    How many citizens directly benefit from government programs?

    The unemployed, the elderly, education, the water we drink, the water we flush, hunters, fishermen, the poor, the sick, our roads...I could go on forever.

    Is the farmer who accepts a direct payment from the government program that he legally qualifies for morally or ethically wrong for doing so? Is the farmer any more guilty than the college student? Or the unemployed? Or the sick? Or the elderly?

  3. "Is the farmer who accepts a direct payment from the government program that he legally qualifies for morally or ethically wrong for doing so?"

    No -- and though I agree there's lots of hypocrisy out there but this is extreme because, after all, these are direct payments in the form of a cashed check from the Feds.

  4. Author

    I don't offer any stats on what the farmers spend their subsidies on. Expense, wages, frilly dresses... it doesn't matter. The plain fact is that the subsidies average out to a nearly $20K handout for every farm in the state. If I got $20K each year, I could produce all sorts of cheap food in my garden (and build a boffo fence to keep those darn raccoons out). The point here is that any South Dakotan preaching self-reliance and rugged individualism is missing a very important point about South Dakota's dependence on government assistance.

    Also worth noting: ten states (including us) got 56% of the subsidies in 2009. 10% of South Dakota's farmers collect 61% of the subsidies. 26% of South Dakota's farmers get none. So a small portion of "farmers" (like the Noems) enhance their wealth with much more than $20K in farm welfare each year.

  5. starbright57, I think farmers would be very happy to pay 2.89 a bushel for seed corn. The last I heard, Roundup Ready corn seed was around $200.00 per bag. Maybe 2 bushels in a bag if even that.

  6. I'm sorry Cory. You need to make sure EVERYONE uses their full name...EVERYTIME.

  7. Noem farms the system. She's a crook and it's legal. She is the one putting small farmers out of business.

    "The farm subsidies should be overhauled so people like Noem don’t take out $3 million. Little farmers need it. The $250,000 cap which she voted against would have been a good start."

    This would like to no more about her not supporting the above limits.

  8. Well maybe she's not a crook but she's morally bankrupt.

  9. Keep in mind, every farm does not get a subsidy and 10% of the farms get 56% of the money. It is the large corperations that get the most money. And Noem's farm is a "corperation" even though it is all family. the small farmers who might need this to stay afloat get very little, e.g. often about $1,000 a year.

  10. also the produce that is subsidized tends to be the least nutritionally sound. These subsidies are why the least expensive food is also the worst for you.

  11. Author

    Mary J., you're absolutely right about that. Farm subsidies as structured now go to the wrong people and the wrong food. Food subsidies should support producers who need help, food that makes us healthier, and communities with lots of small farmers rather than a sparse oligiopoly of corporate producers.

  12. why didn't you list Senator Jim Hunstad's totals: MORE THAN $455,000!!
    (he's from the Aberdeen/Bath area)
    or Rep. Paul Dennert's $140,000? (btw. if you add up all the dennerts in the 57433 zip code you get some pretty big chunks of change)

    [CAH: Did I miss Hundstadt? Nertz! I'll look those numbers up! I did get Dennert on my House subsidies post.]

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