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South Dakota Hog Farmer “Almost Going to Have to” Hire Illegal Immigrants

Agricultural industry groups complain that President Barack Obama's immigration action won't help them find the workers they need to bring home the bacon. In a brilliant display of rationalization, Hurley hog farmer Steve Schmiechel says the President's inaction and the free market will force him to break the law to stay in business:

Steve Schmeichel, a Hurley, S.D., pig farmer, said he hasn’t hired undocumented immigrants to work on his operation, but the growing labor shortage and ongoing challenge to find employees willing to work means he’ll probably need to soon. Schmeichel said farmers he knows who have hired undocumented immigrants describe them as reliable and willing to work.

“It’s difficult for us or anybody else to find people who are willing to work and do the job and not be afraid to get dirty to get it done,” Schmeichel said. “It’s something that we’re almost going to have to do. It’s our next step” [Christopher Doering and Bill Theobald, "Ag Largely Left Out of Immigration Plan," that Sioux Falls paper, 2014.11.21].

I guess South Dakota's hog farmers and dairy farmers are in the same situation as illegal immigrants. We flooded the Mexican market with subsidized American farm products, crushing the Mexican farm economy. Wal-Mart, sweatshops, and other fruits of NAFTA made things worse for Mexican workers. Mexican workers couldn't wait for the United States Congress or the President to expand and expedite H-2A visas. They couldn't wait to save up half a million dollars to buy an EB-5 visa. To feed their families, those Mexican workers needed to cross the border illegally. They had to. It was their next logical, justifiable, sayable-in-the-paper step, right, Steve?

Schmeichel and the rest of Big Ag just don't want to pay the wages that the local market would bear. They don't want President Obama or Congress to do anything, because that would take away their pool of cheap, exploitable labor:

Sanjay Rawal is the director of Food Chains, a documentary about farmworkers in the United States, which is released in theaters today. I got to chat with him about whether Obama’s failure to address farmworkers in his immigration reform is actually a significant setback.

“Obama is not addressing the needs of agricultural workers in this country,” he agrees. “The reason why the agricultural lobby did not push for farmworkers to be included – and in essence actually fought against it – was because they said that if farmworkers get a pathway to citizenship, they will no longer work in the fields, and [farms] will lose that labor force” [Eve Andrews, "Obama's Immigration Order Won't Help Farmworkers. What Can?" Grist, 2014.11.21].

But wait! We can still get Schmeichel off the hook. Don't blame farmers for the exploitation of migrant labor; blame Safeway and Hy-Vee:

The thesis of Food Chains, essentially, is that the exploitation of migrant farmworkers is a direct result of supermarket monopsony. In short, huge supermarket chains have maintained prices at artificially low levels as the cost of producing fruits and vegetables — in terms of land and equipment — has increased. To survive, farmers have no choice but to hire very, very cheap labor.

“Over and over, we kept hearing that the problem was farmers, the problems were labor contractors, but it seemed like the issues were much more systemic,” Rawal tells me. “And when we started following the coalition, we understood that the problem was really these gigantic corporations that control the entire supply chains. And these corporations can be ruthless” [Andrews, 2014.11.21].

A hog farmer resorts to breaking the law instead of paying market wages. Supermarket corporations refuse to pay producers the market value of their products. Consumers aren't making enough to afford food at the prices legal employment practices and fair payment of farmers would set because their corporate employers aren't paying living wages. That's the American "free" market at work.

What's the real tyranny here? Who in our society is exercising dictatorial power? And what was I saying the other day about slavery?


  1. larry kurtz 2014.11.23

    People of Mexico: it's time for you to dissolve your constitution and petition for US Statehood.

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.23

    By the way, notice that Steve Schmeichel has declared his knowledge of illegal activity at neighboring farms and declared his own intent to break the law. USCIS should be sending agents to Schmeichel's door Monday morning to interview him about his knowledge of illegal activity.

  3. 96Tears 2014.11.23

    Historian Shelby Foote said he believed slavery in the South was doomed by the cotton gin and further mechanization of agriculture. It would be too expensive to maintain families of African American slaves and to maintain large plantations. But slavery did not disappear. It went underground.

    What America has nurtured is an underclass of human beings who live in the shadows. Instead of chains and whips, they face deportation and the breaking up of families.

    What is angering about the discussion of modern slavery in America is the blame and hatred are aimed at the undocumented workers and their families for being here. Who hauled them here and kept them living in the shadows? Who instills fear that if they don't do their overlords' bidding they would be in risk of deportation?

  4. Tim 2014.11.23

    Decades of republican policy at it's best, you can bet your butt somebody is making money in all of this, anybody care to guess who?

  5. Tim 2014.11.23

    There are reasons why republicans are fighting reform, just not what they say on teevee.

  6. mike from iowa 2014.11.23

    The nerve-small farmers thinking they are entitled to cheap labor just becuz the koch bros are. Buddy,you'll have to downsize to where you can meet your own labor needs and forget about expansion to keep up with the rest. Or have a bunch more kids to fill the labor shortage.

  7. David Bergan 2014.11.23

    Very interesting article.

    Help me understand what your solution is, Cory.

    The retail price of bacon is "too low" because the corporation (HyVee, an employee-owned corp, btw) is refusing to buy pigs over a certain price. Thus, the government needs to intervene to make sure HyVee pays a "reasonable amount" for hogs and pass that cost on to consumers.

    The retail price of health care is "too high", thus the government should expand Medicare to everyone... and thus become a monopsony driving prices down and passing on the savings to consumers. (As Obama's famous "cuts" to Medicare did.) Then hospitals will have to hire undocumented workers to do the dirty work of nursing, because licensed nurses will become too expensive.

    What's the solution? Pointing out less-than-ideal situations is easy. But economics is hard.

    We can't call monopsonies evil in one market and the leverage them in another.

  8. larry kurtz 2014.11.23

    Good that SooFoo has built a Costco to end Hy-Vee's monopsony.

  9. larry kurtz 2014.11.23

    DD is an autocrat doling Future Fund ca$h to political cronies: how is that not a monopsony?

  10. Tim 2014.11.23

    David, when it gets to the point I can go to the doctor for the cost of a loaf of bread let me know. Your argument is comparing apples to oranges and thus not an argument at all. You have been spending to much time listening to the right wing.

  11. JeniW 2014.11.23

    Larry, you do remember that there were grocery stores in Sioux Falls before HyVee came along?

    There was Randall's, and econofoods. When HyVee came into town, shoppers chose to go to HyVee instead of being loyal customers to Randall's and econofoods.

    There is nothing wrong with Costco and it works for some people, but I have a problem with the idea of having to pay Costco an admission fee (membership fee) just to shop there. The same is true for Sam's Club. Individual membership is $55.00 per year. I do not shop in quantity enough to make the $55.00 worthwhile. If Costco and Sam's Club would discontinue the admission fee, then they would be stronger competition against HyVee.

  12. Tim 2014.11.23

    What's the solution? Pointing out less-than-ideal situations is easy. But economics is hard.

    Listening to the right is easy, reality is hard. See how easy that is?

  13. larry kurtz 2014.11.23

    Jeni, Brookings has no legitimate grocery competition.

  14. Tim 2014.11.23

    I wish we had a Hy-Vee and Costco in Rapid City, would give us a better option than sending my money to Sam Walton's clan. Since we don't shop Walmart for that reason I would welcome a chance to save a few bucks.

  15. larry kurtz 2014.11.23

    At least Rapid City has a co-op and some bulwark against Nash Finch but now that Albertson's bought Safeway even Spearditch has lost legitimate grocery competition.

  16. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.23

    Leave it to words like "monopsony" to bring out David and his hard questions. :-)

    My flip response is that private corporate monopsonies are evil, while public democratic monopsonies are good.

    My consistent and practical response is not yet fully developed.

    My law-and-order + free-market response is that USCIS should go interrogate Schmeichel, get him to rat out all law-breaking employers, arrest those SOBs, and thus restore proper free-market wage-setting. If USCIS busts all those law-breakers, Schmeichel won't have to compete with those criminals. He'll be able to pay his workers market wages, and the grocers won't be able to underbid him with illegal employers.

    My socialist response is that people have to eat. People have to have access to basic health care. Socialize both to ensure access. Oops—already mostly there! Food Stamps/SNAP makes sure everyone can eat, and Medicaid/ACA ensure everyone gets health care. Tweak minorly, and we have utopia.

    My hard-nosed response is this: We have an ag system based on multiple levels of crime, exploitation, and private tyranny. Give the monopsony supermarkets the AT&T treatment: bust 'em up! Declare amnesty for everyone else, illegal workers and illegal employers. Make sure every worker has health insurance through Medicaid, the ACA exchange, or a public-option Medicare. Strengthen unions to represent those migrant farm workers and protect their wage levels. Use the extra tax revenues we get from putting all those workers on book to better enforce OSHA rules, IRS rules, etc. And if farmers can't recruit a legal, affordable workforce, implement a national service plan for all 18-year-olds offering two harvest seasons serving in a new American Ag Service Corps as an option. (Sounds like tyranny, but I think after one year of having no fruits and vegetables, such a plan would be politically sellable.)

    Schmeichel's and Big Ag's and Republicans' contradictions are as obvious as mine. (Actually, I'd argue more obvious, since they are contradicting themselves on this policy itself, while David has to reach for a whole 'nother policy to try tangling me up in political philosophy.) We need to see those contradictions before we can work toward a solution. Obviously, I'm still working on a solution... which is more than can be said for Big Ag, the supermarket monopsony, and the Congressional GOP.

    Readers, your suggestions?

  17. Bill Fleming 2014.11.23

    LOL, Larry, do they still call it 'the people's republic of Brookings?' Last I knew, there was no competition for any of the utilities there, or for booze either. Want to sit in a warm house, have a beer and watch an NFL game on TV in Brookings? Literally everything about that action including the football game comes to Brookings courtesy of a socialist enterprise, except maybe the burgers and chips. Why wouldn't a municipal grocery store be the next logical step? ;-)

  18. Les 2014.11.23

    Sounds like Steve Schmeichel has found his answer at Maddville. Tim and Larry and Cory want higher prices so they can go make a great living slopping hogs. Who'd a thunk it could be so easy?

  19. jerry 2014.11.23

    What is missing is how the undocumented work in the processing areas of our food supply as well. You can bet the meat packing boys are nervous as well. No longer will they be able to keep these guys from unionizing as they will now be out of the shadows. This may will be one of the most significant economic turn of events in decades. The playing field may have just gotten a little more even thanks to this unilateral Democratic response to inaction by the republican led house of representatives, including our own dust bunny. To the pig farmer dude, pay more wages and you can get the help you need or else, downsize so you can do the work yourself. Maybe go organic to make it work for you.

  20. Les 2014.11.23

    The best home stucco contractors in the US are Mexican and they don't work cheap and I'm betting most are undocumented. Undocumented isn't all about cheap, Cory.

  21. larry kurtz 2014.11.23

    Bill, when PP ran an open forum he lamented Brookings' reluctance to divest: a municipal grocery store makes huge sense.

  22. Bill Fleming 2014.11.23

    Take your cues from FDR, Cory. When we get to the point where the people who break their backs to bring food to your table can't afford to buy the food they produce to feed their own families, the system has become hopelessly broken and in critical need of reform.

    Both presidents Roosevelt, Teddy and later Franklin D grappled with this problem, we don't have to reinvent the wheel. Just put those wheels back on the nation's bus, so people can move on to progress instead of moving into the streets to revolt.

  23. Tim 2014.11.23

    Les, if my paying $.50 more a pound for my bacon allows those workers to make a decent wage and become contributing members of society then I'm all for it. The long term benefits more than outweigh the short term costs. That's the big difference between democrats and the "I got mine screw the rest" republicans.

  24. Bill Fleming 2014.11.23

    Just heard that nationwide, only 37% of the people voted in the last election. That makes SD at 50+% one of the nation's last democratic strongholds, but just barely. Sounds to me like voting is becoming another job that immigrants want to do that American citizens don't.

  25. Lynn 2014.11.23

    Mitchell has County Fair a locally owned store that seems to be pretty competitive with a very good produce department and a meat department really promoting locally sourced. They also have Coborns which I believe is employee owned and can be very competitive. No local food coop but there is a Wayne and Mary's that has health foods, organic beef and other items.

    There are other options besides Walmart and the South Dakota crony government subsidized factory farm with some undocumented employees sourced food options in some of the medium sized SD cities.

  26. Loren 2014.11.23

    Something has gotten totally out of whack. When I was growing up in Sioux Falls, Morrell's was one of THE jobs to have, pay was good, bennies good, safety WAS a concern and farmers raised/sold their own stock. Enter corporate farming, imported labor, broken unions,... Now farmers have to go illegal in order to bring food to market? And we need LESS gov't oversight? More corporate subsidies? Really?

  27. Mike B 2014.11.23

    Technology will solve your supposed labor shortage problem Cory. It is not unusual to have farmers running tens of thousands of acres. Dairy farms can already employ robot milkers today. Self-driving tractors and combines are very close to wide spread reality. Computers and robotics will eliminate a quarter of the jobs held by human workers in less than a decade from now. How are those unemployed going to feed their families regardless of the price of food?

  28. Tim 2014.11.23

    Loren, as I stated earlier, republican policy at it's best.

  29. Jenny 2014.11.23

    Tim has the right idea. I support my local Teamsters Union by buying Kemps dairy products. It's a few pennies more, but I want those boys to have a living wage.

  30. Jenny 2014.11.23

    A subsidized hog farmer complaining that he can't find anyone that is willing to work in the state that prides themselves on being hard-workin? Well, that's kind of a slam isn't it? How much does Schmeigel pay for a job workin' his piggies? I find it interesting that no one in the article or in the comment section, except Jerry,even mentioned that maybe the farmer needs to pay better to get the decent workers. People are sick and tired of being taken advantage of by dirt-poor wages! Come on, people! Pay your workers what they deserve.

  31. 96Tears 2014.11.23

    Cool video, Bill. Our state rewarded a criminal enterprise by willingly electing its CEO to the U.S. Senate. We live in a nation where the right wing has detached itself from reality and society, forming its own reality that is getting larger and more radicalized. Of course, they view us as having done the same thing because we are not inside their bubble, parroting their hateful talk. I'd say a group like Anonymous is the next step. We haven't reached revolution yet, but we are steps further down that road. We are definitely not one nation any longer.

  32. Tim 2014.11.23

    If you look at the history of this country, every 100 years or so, revolution happens in one form or the other when the masses take back from the 1% and even things out a bit. I believe it's coming.

  33. Bill Fleming 2014.11.23

    I'd say the last one was circa 1968. This new one started around 2008, 40 years later. The 'millennials' generation is going to change everything. The process is already underway, I think.

  34. jerry 2014.11.23

    Mike B, you still have to clean that dairy barn and clean it well if you want the high rating and that takes manpower. You still have to unload that combine in the field to take the product into the grain handling systems, you still have to bring the machinery to the fields themselves to do the work. Just because they are mechanized does not mean that you will not need labor to keep it functioning. Corn and wheat are not as important as the fruits and vegetables that are needed to keep us all healthy.

    You cannot mechanize kill plants to process carcasses, we have gone about as far as we can go with that mechanization. The growing and the end result of farming with vegetables and fruits has little to do with actual machinery and more to do with hand work. Why not pay higher wages to the people with the expertise to know a weed from a sprout, that know when to prepare for the fruit harvest and to get that done in a timely way for the compensation for an honest days work. Pay them overtime as needed as well. In other words, stop fooling ourselves into believing that the days of cheap food are going to go one forever. We are subsidizing the grocery chains that now dictate what you will eat and how much you will spend, time to break away from that and buy locally. Slave labor is supposed to have ended because of a civil war, it was not supposed to get fine tuned.

  35. Les 2014.11.23

    Ive never seen a subsidized hog farmer Jenny. Mostly the hog prices have always been so low they drove the family farms out of biz with our governments cheap food policies to keep you libs from rioting. So now ur going to riot to even things out? Cool. Jenny got a gun...

  36. Les 2014.11.23

    Probably the day the CIA fired on students at Kent State bf.

  37. Mike B 2014.11.23

    "The typical pay for a live picker is $20 for a half-ton bin of oranges, Batkin said, although the rate can go up during labor shortages. Based on amortization, the harvester can pick that same bin for roughly a dollar less, he said. And unlike humans, the harvester can work in the dark, which is important since picking starts after fruit dries from the morning dew."

    "Mountain View's Blue River Technology has a robot that can thin lettuce fields 20 to 40 times faster than a person, said co-founder Jorge Heraud. "

  38. Les 2014.11.23

    In my life of business, cost was no consideration if the equipment would replace man hours. Who's going to feed the workers then?

  39. Tim 2014.11.23

    "cost was no consideration"

    You're full of shit.

  40. Les 2014.11.23

    Thanks, Tim. You have a great vocab. All ten words.

  41. jerry 2014.11.23

    Les brings to the table a statement that he has never seen a subsidized hog farmer. Interesting. If they are running such close margins, along with no kind of subsidy whatsoever, maybe it would be a better idea to close the operation down and find another way to utilize the farming operation.

  42. Tim 2014.11.23

    Les, just calling it as I see it. If you were looking at a million dollar piece of equipment that does what a couple of minimum wage workers could do (you are a SD republican, and wouldn't pay more than minimum), and to sit here and say "cost wouldn't be a consideration", you are full of shit.

  43. Les 2014.11.23

    In the communist world you wish for, Jerry, that is the reality.
    Tell us how they are subsidized if they are. Would it be putting corn into ethanol creating higher feed prices? Or exporting Soybeans?
    More experts from the couch. In 1988 I spent $29,000 on computers that I knew would eliminate 12 days of sales tax reconciliation without a thought on the cost. After years of inputting inventory and such the returns started showing up in ways never imagined. I would not hesitate if it was possible to spend a million dollars right now to eliminate 3 jobs from my biz and run sans employees. That is why you are unemployed or umeployable Tim.

  44. jerry 2014.11.23

    But what is this Les? Would you call this something other than a subsidy? "U.S. pork producers also consider federal risk management programs AgriStability, AgriInvest and AgriRecovery as subsidy programs that benefit hog producers."

    I seem to see the words "subsidy program" and "hog producers" all nicely wrapped in verbiage that you can read from left to right.

  45. jerry 2014.11.23

    So what does your 29K outlay for something that would be your own benefit man anything to the hog farmer Les, unless of course, you are one.

  46. Les 2014.11.23

    Spell it out Jerry. Your slingin Google.

  47. Les 2014.11.23

    I raised hogs in another life 35 years ago and made money. Never saw a subsidy. Details on those subsidies Jerry.

  48. jerry 2014.11.23

    Thank you for your nice rabbit trail, convoluted statement on communism. I have noticed one thing about right wing nuts, when they get caught in their own net, the only words they know are "communists", like they even have a clue what the hell that means, or Hitler, of whom they like the mustache.

  49. Les 2014.11.23

    Details Jerry. Subsidy details. From the Kings and queens of subsidies come the howls.

  50. jerry 2014.11.23

    35 years ago is one hell of a lot different than today Les. Even you should know that the price of a new car was about 2500 to 3000 bucks. A six pack brew cost more than a six pack of pop. Of course you did not get a subsidy because you made money! How much was corn in those days of the lore? How about fuel for that poppin Johnny? What were your litter sizes? Tell us about the Farm Bill of 35 years ago, how in the world did that work? Fire up your doodling google and let us know how you can defend yourself now. By the way, what did your hogs sell for at that time you made such a haul?

  51. Les 2014.11.23

    Where's the net Jerry? You haven't answered a question yet.

  52. jerry 2014.11.23

    On the fishing boat is the net. I use it sparingly as I want some undocumented worker to clean the beasts for me.

  53. Les 2014.11.23

    All is relevant Jerry. Why the anger? Caught in your own world of fantasy, Alice?

  54. Tim 2014.11.23

    Humm, not unemployed or unemployable, actually make a very good living by SD standards. Hell, I pay taxes and everything, and nobody subsidizes me either.

  55. Les 2014.11.23

    Btw Jerry, corn was a little over a buck less than it is now and hogs were 4 times less on the market. Details, Jerry. Where is the subsidy.

  56. jerry 2014.11.23

    How many workers did you employ in your money making farming operation and how did you pay your employees? Did you provide any kind of allowances for them like 5 buckle overshoes or did you expect them to go barefoot.

  57. Mike B 2014.11.23

    You may not like it, but we could live in a future very soon where the gov't will be forced to guarantee you a surviving wage because there will be huge unemployment and no jobs to be had.

  58. Les 2014.11.23

    By liberal SD standards that means you make just over $8/hour Tim. Your attitude is the reason it is believable employers don't consider cost when eliminating guys like you.

  59. Les 2014.11.23

    Details, Jerry. You can't just by the baby crying for milk. Contribute.

  60. Les 2014.11.23

    Family farms generally had no employees, Jerry. My biz for life had as high as ten and down to four at our most profitable time. Details, Jerry with no answers.

  61. Tim 2014.11.23

    Ah but Les, you are wrong, SD standards are conservative republican all the way and have been for the last 40 years. We talk about this here all the time, do you have a reading disability? You read it but don't comprehend what you read? For the record, 8 bucks an hour wouldn't make my car payment but, I digress. Les, are you retired, kicking back living the good life? Enjoying that social security payment republicans want to get rid of? Just wondering who is subsidizing who.

  62. jerry 2014.11.23

    Thanks for the opportunity Les, here is all you need know.

    "According to the USDA, the $1 trillion farm bill will provide “a dependable safety net for America’s farmers, ranchers and growers. It would maintain important agricultural research, and ensure access to safe and nutritious food for all Americans.”

    And yet, according to data from the USDA’s website, it’s not clear that Big Farm really needs a “dependable safety net.” The combined net income of US farmers more than doubled over the last four years, from $60.4 billion in 2009 to an all-time high last year of $131 billion (see brown bars in the chart below). Further, Big Farm’s net worth reached an all-time high last year of $2.7 trillion (see blue bars below), which works out to an average of more than $1.2 million in net worth for each of the nation’s 2.17 million farmers. In other words, the average farmer in America today is a millionaire based on net worth – do they really still need taxpayer life support?"

  63. larry kurtz 2014.11.23

    Any hog producer who publicly threatens to break the law to make a profit is an idiot.

  64. Les 2014.11.23

    I don't disagree with you Larree.
    No tim, not retired. 62 and paying in so you will have the net. Aaahhh, but Tim, where is your reading comprehension. With the GOP controls, you libs have been saying its a gop world in sd with good wages at $8/hour. Who am I to believe, Tim? So you would also be one of those saying social security is an entitlement? Or subsidy? Curious mind wants to know.
    Jerry is being a bit lazy today. Hog farmers indicted by your little post. Why not put the food stampers in there if you're gonna be picking and choosing with numbers that have no relevance.

  65. Les 2014.11.23

    Hog farmers, Jerry. Not rabbits trails. Details, Jerry.

  66. Tim 2014.11.23

    8.50 an hour is not a good wage Les, but it is better than the 7.25 or less repubs want to pay. Not sure what you mean about SS, we all pay in and if it hadn't been for the republican mismanagement of SS during the Raygun years when the system was flush with cash because we were all paying in, nobody would be talking about it.

  67. Tim 2014.11.23

    They just couldn't keep their hands off of it back then as they had to cover their deficit spending somehow, doing what repubs do so well, taking care of today while screwing the future. Somethings never change.

  68. grudznick 2014.11.23

    That's like 80 dollars a day. That's a pretty good wage in my opinion.

    And I just want to say that I can't even read Mr. PP's site anymore with how slow it is and all the moving pieces that are confusing and jittering all over.

  69. Tim 2014.11.23

    Grud, 8.50x8 is 68 a day before taxes, you want to live on that? Not a very good living, but better than 58 a day.

  70. Jenny 2014.11.23

    There sure isn't nothing wrong with payin' the boys a livin' wage! Here's to the Unions!

  71. Les 2014.11.23

    You can sure tell the difference between the entitled and the workers. Grud and I figure our days at ten hours. That's the 80, Tim.
    It was Clinton who rolled SS into the system dissolving the dollars into thin air, Tim. Remember the balanced budget, it came from SS.
    Boys make minimum wage, Jenny. Real men if you can find them nowdays make a good wage usually based upon more than an 8 hour day.

  72. Les 2014.11.23

    ""Enjoying that social security payment republicans want to get rid of? Just wondering who is subsidizing who.""". My comments on SS came from your statement above, Tim. Splain to this old man what you're talking about with your subsidizing comment.

  73. Bill Fleming 2014.11.23

    Excerpt from my link above:
    Just how much did these farm subsidies end up benefitting industry? According to figures from a 2007 GDAE working paper on factory farming and specifically swine operations, farm subsidies pushed corn and soybean prices below the cost of production and allowed agribusiness to purchase "feed" at incredibly low rates.3 Hogging the Gains from Trade notes that, "This 'implicit subsidy' to animal feed gave industrial hog farmers a 26% break on their feed costs, which represented a 15% reduction in the firms' [Smithfield’s] operating costs.4 We estimated savings to the industry from below-cost feed at $8.5 billion over that nine-year period. Smithfield controlled roughly 30% of the hog market during that time, so its savings were about $2.5 billion.”5

    $2.5 billion flowed from taxpayers pockets to a company that is infamous for poor animal welfare, pollution, and unfair labor practices.

  74. Les 2014.11.23

    I think you need to understand what you're talking about before you can make a comprehensible statement, Bill. Are you stating that I paid more or less and what time frame would this be and more or less than whom?

  75. Bill Fleming 2014.11.23

    Les is just trying to be cute and coy. He's not very good at either.

  76. Les 2014.11.23

    I think the cute n coy is more of a BF. I'm seldom coy and never cute.

  77. Les 2014.11.23

    You're doing no better than Jerry, Bf. Throwing a lot of bs with no specifics and in a world you know nothing about.

  78. grudznick 2014.11.23

    Unions are to blame for any minimum wage. Unions are the bane of working people everywhere and have been the downfall of many lower educated people. Unions are on the way out.

  79. Les 2014.11.23

    So now steve Schmeichel is Smithfield? Kind of a stretch. We know Smithfield employs illegals, rigs markets and most every other corruption possible. .
    How about details on my or any other producers subsidies in the hog market. You folks have been accomplices to the Smithfields and Walton's by deserting the higher cost independents and fanily farms for cheap products.

  80. Les 2014.11.23

    It was not all that long ago the libs here were in angst over corn going into fuel and now its convenient to propagate the low cost corn. Face it libs, until the government controls all biz, the consumer will always pay the bill regardless of the tax or subsidies or lack there of. Once the government controls it, it will be just what government wants regardless of market demand.

  81. Tim 2014.11.23

    "You can sure tell the difference between the entitled and the workers. Grud and I figure our days at ten hours. That's the 80, Tim."
    You are a fool then if you figure a 10 hr day.
    "It was Clinton who rolled SS into the system dissolving the dollars into thin air, Tim. Remember the balanced budget, it came from SS."
    Wrong, Clinton balanced the budget with a combination of tax increases and spending cuts which balanced the budget. Then Bush promptly sent us back into deficit spending with a pile of tax cuts but no spending cuts to offset then to make matters worse did the prescription drug benefit and didn't pay for it either. That doesn't even consider two unpaid for wars.
    "Boys make minimum wage, Jenny. Real men if you can find them nowdays make a good wage usually based upon more than an 8 hour day."
    Wrong again, people trying to get started in their working life, even with expanded education rarely start much above 8 bucks an hour in SD, complements of republican business friendly policy.

  82. Jenny 2014.11.23

    I wouldn't tell that to the Teamsters in my town, Grudz. ;)
    The boys here are very dedicated to their local Unions and proudly so. Unions, if properly run, are a powerful advocate for the working class.
    As they say, when the last Union goes, so goes America. Who will be around to speak for the worker? Certainly not your GOP leaders that SD has.

  83. grudznick 2014.11.23

    Why wouldn't a man work 10 hours a day, putting his back into it? I am disgusted by entitled libbies. Put your back into it boys and make a better life for yourselves.

  84. Tim 2014.11.23

    If you have to work 10 hours a day or more to make a good wage, then it's not a good wage.

  85. Les 2014.11.23

    Yes, Tim. I may be a fool but my ten hour days have given me a life and lifestyle you libs wish to take from me and generously hand off to a more deserving soul. So yes, you could say I'm a fool for thinking I could prosper in the US without it being taken me.
    You are generously short on history, Tim. I stand by Clinton balancing the budget with our SS system.
    Interesting that most start at $8 in SD. I was starting my untrained at $10 ten years ago and letting them go to commission whenever they felt ready at $16.80. Your experiences are not everyone's. And your experiences are easy to understand with your attitude always showing.

  86. grudznick 2014.11.23

    Mr. Tim, when you went to your fancy school did you only study 1 hour a day because if you studied and learned more it just wasn't a good education? You sound lazy. Work harder not cry for more handouts, that is the way up the ladder of success.

  87. Les 2014.11.23

    I didn't have to work 10 hour days. I chose to work 15 hour days so my employees always had work and the other qualities of workplace they asked for. You get what you give and someday you will realize, it is not always all about you, Tim.

  88. Tim 2014.11.23

    Grud, you and Les need to come out of the 19th century, you both have been toiling under unchecked republican policy in SD for to long.

  89. grudznick 2014.11.23

    I may not agree with Mr. Les often but I, for one, appreciate that he did not sit on his butt and ask for handouts. He earned his standard of living. I like your work ethic, Mr. Les. I dislike whiners and moochers and handout grubbers. They are slackards, all.

  90. Tim 2014.11.23

    You both presume way to much about me, neither of you have a clue. Lack of facts never stop the conservative attack though. Les, speaking of lazy, I'll do your history research for you to show you SS was tapped before Clinton was elected.
    Grud, my fancy school was trade school to learn how to be a mechanic, also while working an 8 hour a day night job to pay for it. I have been pulling wrenches ever since. Kiss my ass.

  91. grudznick 2014.11.23

    Mr. Tim, let us all try and be more civil that than. I am proud of your for finishing your schooling and pulling wrenches. I love the smell of Goop hand cleaner too.

  92. jerry 2014.11.23

    Was away for a little bit and see we are not talking about the new found freedom for America's undocumented. I think that it is great that they will now compete for other jobs other than slugging it out in knee deep goo while making slave wages. I am delighted that Les made a killing in his one man operation with the hogs and would suggest that those who are complaining about their workers, maybe contact Les on how to downsize to one real special feller.

  93. jerry 2014.11.23

    Had Les stayed in the game, he would have been the recipient of the kind of subsidies spoken of here. I am so glad that you badgered me for the written word Les, it is a doozy.

    "According to the USDA, the $1 trillion farm bill will provide “a dependable safety net for America’s farmers, ranchers and growers. It would maintain important agricultural research, and ensure access to safe and nutritious food for all Americans.”

    And yet, according to data from the USDA’s website, it’s not clear that Big Farm really needs a “dependable safety net.” The combined net income of US farmers more than doubled over the last four years, from $60.4 billion in 2009 to an all-time high last year of $131 billion (see brown bars in the chart below). Further, Big Farm’s net worth reached an all-time high last year of $2.7 trillion (see blue bars below), which works out to an average of more than $1.2 million in net worth for each of the nation’s 2.17 million farmers. In other words, the average farmer in America today is a millionaire based on net worth – do they really still need taxpayer life support?"

    Then he would have been doing his typical moaning about the brown folks and their daring to want more for their services.

  94. jerry 2014.11.23

    With all that moolah Les, why do they need a subsidy? There are working poor here that are not undocumented. These folks have no kind of safety net whatsoever while they are working, and yet, we are doing this

    "In other words, the average farmer in America today is a millionaire based on net worth – do they really still need taxpayer life support?"

    The average farmer Les, like the guys talking in the article. Average farmer a millionaire... Average, wow.

  95. jerry 2014.11.23

    By the way Les, if you really do what you are saying with your employees, that is way cool. Of course, it may be bullshit too for all I know.

  96. larry kurtz 2014.11.23

    Letting earth haters define us is absurd, people: Rapid City has a strong union presence regardless of how imbecilic it is to live there. Defend the Democratic Party on principle!

  97. Tim 2014.11.23

    Les, if it's not to much for your finger to turn the scroll wheel down to trust fund, you will see the rules for SS was changed in 1983 (the Raygun years) to start using the fund to offset deficit spending, to your credit they didn't change that until 2009 (uh, Obama), so I admit the rule was in effect during Clinton, but as I said, started during the republican deficit spending of the early 80's. Clinton did raise taxes and cut spending to balance the budget, I stand by that.

  98. grudznick 2014.11.23

    Lar, the unions in Rapid are dying. You need to visit more often.

  99. larry kurtz 2014.11.23

    Stan Adelstein made his fortune screwing the little guy, appropriating treaty land and landing contracts to sell dirt to the state cement plant: NWE is still a shitty place to work while Lien pollutes the NW side of Rapid City ripping holes in the Black Hills.

  100. larry kurtz 2014.11.23

    Sanford is South Dakota's richest white guy because he made deals with the devil, Bill Janklow!

  101. larry kurtz 2014.11.23

    Sveen, Troy Jones, Hanul, Hani Shafai: all suck at the state tit!

  102. Jenny 2014.11.23

    I kind of like that term you use for the other side, Larry -"earth haters". Some people would think it's too strong a term to use for other side, but it works for me. :)

  103. larry kurtz 2014.11.23

    Larry Mann and Jeremiah Murphy are disgusting sewer rats lobbying for earth haters and the Church of the Holy Roman Kiddie Diddlers: vermin!

  104. Tim 2014.11.23

    We have unions out here? I thought republicans made them virtually nonexistent a few years ago with our right to work law.

  105. larry kurtz 2014.11.23

    Harry Christiansen, Roger Tellinghusen, Larry Long, Doyle Estes are whores!

  106. Jenny 2014.11.23

    Those Earth haters don't need no Unions! Men are men in SD and the sheep are nervous!

  107. Tim 2014.11.23

    Larry, the wind is blowing, we are all enjoying Pete Lien on the west side of the gap today.

  108. grudznick 2014.11.23

    Now now. That's a little rough on Mr. Estes don't you think?

  109. larry kurtz 2014.11.23

    All the Estes's are whores, grud: so are their kin, the Andersons.

  110. larry kurtz 2014.11.23

    The Husteads still pay shit to staff their hole in the Wall tourist trap.

  111. grudznick 2014.11.23

    Have you tried the food at Fat Boy's BBQ there in Wall, Lar? It is no wonder the tourists stop in that town in droves.

  112. larry kurtz 2014.11.23

    Stolen from the tribes, grud: it's embarrassing, deceitful and wrong. Apartheid has been very, very good for white people.

  113. Bill Fleming 2014.11.23

    Les, your claim is that you don't know subsidized hog farmers. My proof is that hog farmers can buy grain cheaper than others buying the same grain, sometimes below cost. Your only counter must be that you never took that discount and further that you don't know anyone else who did either. Are you still standing by your claim? I don't need to know anything more about the hog farming business than that in order to challenge your assertion. None of us do. You are either lying or you're not. And to me, it looks like you are.

  114. Bill Fleming 2014.11.23

    P.s. I do know other hog farmers who will level with us on this. And certainly you still have paperwork that shows you bought your feed at undiscounted rates. It's your assertion, and thus your burden of proof.

  115. larry kurtz 2014.11.23

    Municipal food waste should go to hog and chicken operations: if the legislature was anything more than a rubber stamp for SDGOP producers could afford to pay more.

  116. jerry 2014.11.23

    In North Dakota they have the oil and gas pollution that is killing the state without a doubt.

    In South Dakota, we have the hog confinement that this gentleman was bitching about. Hogs cause much environmental problems that have a lasting effect on water quality. As far as I am concerned, those farms should be shuttered and let the pigs roam free. Have you seen what a dried ham goes for that is free range? has both both American and Spanish hams for sale there.

  117. larry kurtz 2014.11.23

    Hurley is close enough to populated areas to harvest the landfills for food waste: the whiny operator in Cory's post sounds like a piece of work.

  118. Roger Cornelius 2014.11.23

    A few months ago I watched a National Geographic special on Immigration, it is total corruption at every level. There are often as many as nine tiers to get immigrants into this country.
    There are "recruiters" on the ground in many South American countries that pick candidates to enter the U.S. by selling them a bill of goods and guaranteeing work, sometimes prospects are actually kidnapped, sound like the slave trade?
    Once the immigrant has been identified transportation, food and lodging have to be arranged, they are often provided with assistance to gain entry into the country and again travel, food, and lodging must be arranged. Finally they are shipped to where cheap labor is in demand.
    Once those little paychecks start coming in, they must payback all those people that got them here. There is a network of collectors on hand to take ample amounts of the immigrant laborer, sometimes the payback takes years and leaves the laborer with little money.
    So who are those in charge of this activity? They are the scourge of humanity specializing in human trafficking, middlemen at every level and the corporations that willingly pay for human trafficking, knowing that they will get the cheapest of labor.
    Like most industry in America, the corruption that exist in the ag industry stinks from bottom to top. Subsidizes of every kind, tax breaks, lobbyist all have their fingers in the pie.

  119. larry kurtz 2014.11.23

    In Bill Janklow's world inmates would be working at hog production facilities.

  120. Les 2014.11.23

    Bill, you obviously do not understand what you are talking about. For you to convince someone that you do doesn't displease me in the least.
    I know a little something of your employment world, Tim. Who stays until midnight to get the car fixed that you couldn't figure out the problem on? What is your pay, hourly or commission on what shop rate?

  121. Bob Klein 2014.11.23

    Bill, where is your evidence that hog farmers can buy grain cheaper?

    It's been a long time since I've been in agriculture. However, I know that wasn't the case at the elevator my family ran before about 1980. It just doesn't make any sense. The elevators are largely run by people interested in profit as well. They aren't going to often sell below cost. It just doesn't make any sense for them to do so.

  122. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.23

    Hey, Les, let me ask a basic free market question: if the only way to stay in business is to break the law, does that mean the market has decided your business shouldn't stay open?

  123. Bill Fleming 2014.11.23

    I should add that i don't really have a problem with ag subsidies, and that if les bought his feed at an industry discount, that's okay with me. What's not okay is for people to receive Federal assistance and then try to pretend they didn't. There is a lot of that in net receiver states like ours. Were it not for federal assist from donor states, ours would have been in bankruptcy decades ago.

  124. Bill Fleming 2014.11.23

    Bob the grain was cheaper because it was subsidized. See the link above. For Les or anyone he knows to not have been subsidized, as he claims, he would have had to have paid more than the feed companies were charging. I'd like to see those receipts.

  125. Tim 2014.11.23

    Les, there you go again, presuming you know something about me just so you can attack with your insults. There are a lot of ways to pull wrenches and never touch a vehicle of any kind, hell, I don't even have a shop to work in. My pay grade isn't any of your business. I will say, when conservatives make unfactual attacks, when they have no clue what they are talking about, I truly don't think you realize how stupid it makes you look. On that, I'll leave you to your musings.

  126. Bob Klein 2014.11.23

    There is plenty of vitriol in this thread. I'm not trying to add to it. I just don't see how you can call that subsidizing hog farmers. They're paying the same price I'd pay if I were feeding squirrels.

  127. Bill Fleming 2014.11.23

    Bob, if you pay less for your raw materials than it cost to produce those materials because of a government subsidy, then your industry has been subsidized. (So has your squirrel feeding hobby, btw.) No vitriol here, just trying to get Les to first see, and then admit to the truth. It's hard trying to bring people out of a deluded state, but hey, somebody's gotta do it. ;-)

  128. Les 2014.11.23

    Yes Tim. I'm stupid, foolish and full of shit. I agree a conversation with you proves that for sure. You win!
    BF, you tell me where I could go to buy a commodity under the board price? Your interpretation is off the charts.
    What I can believe is a market manipulation that gave Smithfield and anyone else buying that grain a deal. Poor corn farmer didn't get a deal. .
    The Chinese came into our bean markets early this year and pushed them high. Got the farmers to plant beans and buggerd out of the markets with a market they could then buy back into at a bargain.
    There is no such thing as one entity getting the physical commodity priced down unless you are talking of something like the Rez back in the late 70's when they got federal oats for .12 and I paid them 1.25 a bushel.

  129. jerry 2014.11.23

    The thread started as one that is dealing with a hog farmer that is bitching about immigration. He is claiming that he cannot make it without breaking the law. So, if he cannot make it without breaking the law then perhaps, he should find another occupation that he would not run afoul of the law. The only vitriol that I am hearing is the hog farmer complaining about what is going to happen to his slave labor.

  130. larry kurtz 2014.11.23

    This producer is subsidized by a state looking away from the public nuisance it causes: DENR is a wholly owned subsidiary of a SDGOP losing market share. See Cory's post on SD's tumbling business climate.

  131. jerry 2014.11.23

    a sum of money granted by the government or a public body to assist an industry or business so that the price of a commodity or service may remain low or competitive.
    "a farm subsidy"

  132. larry kurtz 2014.11.23

    DENR bakes the science into a loaf that SD's congressional delegation sells to its voters: now Congress is half-baked as well as half-assed.

  133. Les 2014.11.23

    """Les, your claim is that you don't know subsidized hog farmers. My proof is that hog farmers can buy grain cheaper than others buying the same grain, sometimes below cost. """"
    """Bob, if you pay less for your raw materials than it cost to produce those materials because of a government subsidy, then your industry has been subsidized. (So has your squirrel feed"""
    Two different stories you are telling BF. No way in heck is one industry, squirrels, paying less than hogs or vice versa. Give it up.

  134. Bill Fleming 2014.11.23

    There is a reason ag subsidies and food stamp subsides are coupled under the same law. Or at least there used to be. The idea is to ensure food production at a price everyone can afford, and further, to assist those who can't afford even those artificially lowered prices. For the food producers to fail to recognize this and instead try to pretend theirs is a free market enterprise is delusional. For them to further resent the poor and their subsidy so that they can afford to eat the food they produce goes beyond delusional into corrupt and immoral.

  135. Les 2014.11.23

    Going broke due to changing taxing rules or other rules such as eminent domain, has been done for as long as our country has been a country, Cory. You tell me if it is right.

  136. Bill Fleming 2014.11.23

    Les, you lost this argument the moment you tried to make it, and everyone here knows it but you.

  137. mike from iowa 2014.11.23

    I've noticed a number of wingnut congressweasels who get gubmint subsidies for their family's farm/ranch(and try to deny such) have no problem denying subsidies to the poor or military or aged-foodstamps and excess food commodities.

  138. jerry 2014.11.23

    LOL Bill Fleming, Now we will go down another rabbit trail from Mr. Les, of that, I am quite sure.

  139. Les 2014.11.23

    As for Schmeichel going broke for hiring illegals, your kids on the street here want it that way, it's been decided.

  140. Les 2014.11.23

    Obviously it's not an argument worth winning if you can't read your own quotes bill. Nuff for me.

  141. jerry 2014.11.23

    The article from the Sioux Falls paper did not indicate what the hog farmer was paying in wages to keep his help. Wonder what it is?

  142. Bill Fleming 2014.11.23

    The argument that people should always be able to afford to put food on the table is always an arguement worth winning, Les, and I did win it. Thank you for your consession.

  143. larry kurtz 2014.11.23

    After President Obama's executive actions are implemented expect South Dakota's legislature to pass a bill forcing SNAP recipients to work for hog producers and dairies.

  144. Les 2014.11.23

    Bill, if all you were doing was saying was corn subsidized, yes it was. But, you insisted on saying "pork producers buy corn for less cost than others with your quote of""""""""Les, your claim is that you don't know subsidized hog farmers. My proof is that hog farmers can buy grain cheaper than others buying the same grain, sometimes below cost. """" that is complete and unadulterated bs.

  145. Les 2014.11.23

    Btw, one of the greatest costs on the backs of South Dakotans is the lack of a sales tax on advertising. Talk about an industry on the shoulders of the education system and those with the least in our state.

  146. larry kurtz 2014.11.23

    Ooooo, nice shot, Les: Deadwood's billboard assault has certainly been underwhelming for its bottom line.


  147. jerry 2014.11.23

    If the ranchers and farmers cannot get legitimate help to work their lands, then perhaps the government could subsidize migrant workers with legitimate fair pay and working conditions, to bring those products into market. I think that all could agree that the real culprit here is greed from ag producers to keep their costs down and profits up, but why on the backs of slave labor. These migrants simply do the jobs better than Americans can and they do it more efficiently, so why not pay them the necessary wage to keep that performance up.

    The Farm Bill is already a huge subsidy so why not amend into it more for the labor that will be needed to bring those products to market. By doing so would help local main street business as well as the overall economy.

  148. Bill Fleming 2014.11.23

    It's not a lie Les, it's two ways of saying the exact same thing. Yours is a distinction without a difference, you bought raw materials cheaper because they were subsidized than another buyer could have, were they not. Sometimes you even bought them below cost. Too bad I can't do that buying the gas I need to drive to work. And as for the advertising tax, you'll have to take that up with the media. They are the ones who claim to sell it, although to me it seems like all they sell is white space and dead air time. The advertising part comes from the advertiser who is exercising his right of free speech. Taxes are paid by people who subscribe to and otherwise purchase the media services. But that's off topic of course.

  149. mike from iowa 2014.11.23

    Bush wanted families to be able to put food on their children. Big difference between children and table unless one figures to eat their children.

  150. jerry 2014.11.23

    Bill Fleming, yours is the reason why I choose to remain unknown on this blog or any other one. For someone to take a pot shot at you and your occupation is pretty galling, but really kind of typical republican ways. If they cannot win the argument or the vote, they have to somehow tarnish it to suit their arrogance.

  151. Les 2014.11.23

    It is a lie, because you say I can buy cheaper than the next operator? Read your words," hog farmers can buy corn cheaper than others buying the same grain." That is a lie no matter how you color it.
    It's hardly an attack on an industry that produces copy, Jerry. I've been in the media industry and they made off like bandits with all the money pumped into SD elections alone..

  152. Bill Fleming 2014.11.23

    Les, how much would someone have to pay for unsubsidized grain? That is the only relevant point. You got to buy subsidized grain, and make more money because of it. I'm not complaining about that, I'm just thinking it's delusional to deny it, which you appear determined to do. Then to top it off you get indignant when we the peoe want to help other people out besides you. That's offensive to me.

  153. Bill Fleming 2014.11.23

    What media job did you have exactly, Les? I hope you didn't write ads. LOL

  154. larry kurtz 2014.11.23

    Bill, we saw Mockingjays last night: you have a compelling likeness to Philip Seymour Hoffman.

  155. Bill Fleming 2014.11.23

    Good movie huh? We went Friday. I hear that a lot, Larry. I like to think PSH looks a little like me. I was here first. ;-)

  156. Roger Cornelius 2014.11.23

    Let me see if I understand this correctly, Steve Schmeichel the pig farmer, has never received a farm subsidy under any law.
    Does the USDA not allow pig farmers to get any kinds of subsidy for feed or anything else?
    Why are pig farms not eligible for any subsidies?

  157. jerry 2014.11.23

    Les, go get'um tiger.

  158. Roger Cornelius 2014.11.23

    I googled Steve Schmeichel farm subsidies and found this information:
    In 2007 and 2010 Schmeichel received farm welfare payments totaling $53,192.
    From 1995 to 2012 Turner County South Dakota received a total of $145,367,000 in farm welfare.

  159. Bob Klein 2014.11.23

    I do not believe that anyone indicated Steve received no subsidies for anything. However, there are no subsidies available for the purchase of hog feed, or in the production of hogs.

    Crops are a different matter.

  160. Jenny 2014.11.23

    Yep, and the old fart probably smokes cigarettes too.

  161. jerry 2014.11.23

    Psst, Roger.. Don't tell Les, it would devastate his view of himself as a lone wolf pig raising kind of feller. Well, you would think with that kind of loot they would have had enough to pay a living wage for their workers. Those numbers don't really match the complaint that ole Stevey has laid out so we can feel sorry for his plight. All Steve has to do is pay a decent wage to get some help out there in Hurley country. If you can't pay don't play.

  162. Jenny 2014.11.23

    We might as well just call it what it is guys. I come from a family of farmers and ranchers that get welfare checks all the time. At least I can admit that we're welfare people. :)

  163. jerry 2014.11.23

    So why is that Bob Klein, why do you say that hog producers do not receive any form of subsidies?

  164. Jenny 2014.11.23

    Welfare isn't necessarily a bad thing. A little help never hurt anyone.

  165. jerry 2014.11.23

    So then as long as we are all clear that there are subsidies being given out for all the agriculture producers, in any way shape or form you want to describe them, then why not have the producers defend their situation to help them offset the cost of paying Jose a living wage with benefits with an even greater subsidy if proven that it would cause undo harm to the producer.

  166. Roger Cornelius 2014.11.23

    You are absolutely right that welfare has helped thousands of people over a hurdle or in need, in that context even farm subsidizes should be acceptable.
    What is objectionable is that anonymous posters will say that as farmers they have never gotten farm subsidizes when in fact they have. Usually these are the same people that are opposed to food stamps and other general assistance. Often times they are the same people opposed to immigration reform and wave the deportation flag.
    The other point to be made is do we really have a free market when the ag industry is so heavily subsidized?
    The giant retail corporations that are so big that they don't pay taxes, the corporate grocers that own their farms are at the top of the list for huge subsidizes and the local farmers that also get subsidizes, all influence the price of food.
    The justification for these subsidizes is to keep the food price down, but have you compared food prices lately, every week food prices are increasing, are these subsidizes actually being used for the intended purpose or to buy new pickups and big screen tvs. Something is wrong, but I haven't completely figured it out.

  167. Les 2014.11.23

    I agree with you, Lar. BF and Phillip Hoffman to a tee. Prob one of the best actors of his generation and a great loss. Flawless had this incredible connection to BF as I watched Hoffman last night..
    ""Yep, and the old fart probably smokes cigarettes too."" I don't smoke, Jenny. I'd like to smoke cigars, but, age, you know. You like cigars, Jenny? """ At least I can admit that we're welfare people"". Good for you, Jenny. Minnesota is a geat state for a welfare queen.
    """"Then to top it off you get indignant when we the peoe want to help other people out besides you. That's offensive to me."""I really don't know where you picked anything out of my words about not helping folks out BF. I'm not really fond of peoe's. Maybe that is what this is really about, Bill?

  168. Jenny 2014.11.24

    Except I'm not in the farming profession here in MN, so I won't be needing any of those federal checks that are given out so generously to the ag folks.

  169. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.24

    Les, Schmeichel doesn't indicate that he's being taxed out of business. Everyone should expect some level of taxation and regulation. If someone can't afford to stay in business by legal means, our general solution can't be to stop taxing and regulating that business.

    The only law that seems to be threatening Schmeichel's business is the law he's almost promising to break, immigration law. Establishing certain rules for entering and working in a country are not unreasonable. So why can't hog farmers stay in business without resorting to illegal activity? Is hog farming sustainable? Is vegetable-growing sustainable? Why not? Why is the free market failing in these areas?

  170. Les 2014.11.24

    I think your whole post has little meaning, Cory. Illegal workers are a way of life in the USA. They are the only workers willing to do the low end jobs and that hardly means they only do low level work. There is an extremely talented Mexican work force in our country. Both documented and undocumented.

  171. Bill Dithmer 2014.11.24

    First lets get this out of the way. There is no such thing as a "hog farmer." That ended some time ago. Sometime in the mid 80s, i hauled, sixty feeders to market, and it cost me money to sell those pigs. The next week i gave almost all my sows away.

    Now jump ahead almost 30 years. Local locker plants have waiting list of people wanting pork, but dont have a single source that can provide a steady stream of hogs.

    As far as i can remember I never got a cut rate on my feed, never! Now at that same time natives enrolled in the tribe did get corn at a drastically cut price to feed their cattle. Believe it or not there are some huge native ranchers that used that corn, some with cowherds of over 800 head.

    These same ranchers had most of their ground in trust, income derived from trust ground isnt taxable so these ranchers could do pretty good even in bad times. Add to that no property taxes on trust ground and I dont blame them if we could have done that we would have.

    There is no way to show that "a" hog farmer recieved direct subsidie payments to raise hogs. If those subsidies existed they would have been posted already on this thread.

    I swear, sometimes following some of your train of thought is like listening to a coon dog working a bad track. You know you'll never see a coon in a tree, but you just got to know where the damn dog is going to take you. And as Jerry Clower says, "Theres nothing worse then a lieing coonhound."

    Those subs you are talking about came way after te demise of "the hog farmer." But, if I could have got them I would have.

    If you people really want expensive food do away with all subsides. That wont stop prices from going up, but those farmers and ranchers will see less for their work then they do now because the big boys will just pay less to keep their profits the same. These big players are not agriculture, they are industry. As long as you continue to confuse the two, your understanding of the problem will go unsatisfied.

    The Blindman

  172. Bill Fleming 2014.11.24

    Agribusiness... yes. They're not farmers, they're what has happened to farmers. This is a very old story for me. Goes way back to my UFW days in CA. By the time I got there to help workers form and keep their union, most of the family farms were already gone. The new land owner/growers were Dow Chemical, Gulf Western and Shell Oil (oh, and Ernie and Julio Gallo, of course).

  173. Bill Fleming 2014.11.24

    Pretty good overview of the history of Ag policy in the US, and the shifting relevancy of subsidies. Notice the "get big or get out" phase back in the 1970's. Not sure what Troy was talking about with his "hobby farmer" thing, but it seems to me that subsistence level farming for small communities of folks who want to eat right and have it be affordable is still what it should be all about.

  174. Bill Dithmer 2014.11.24

    " Is hog farming sustainable?" Only if you are willing to pay a much higher price for your pork.

    "Is vegetable-growing sustainable?" Only if you are willing to pay a much higher price for your veggies.

    Why not? Because those people that tried to make it on twenty acres went broke competing with those bigger then they were and sold that ground to those same people making an already big opperation more effecient simply because of its size.

    A couple of days ago you had a thread about small acreages making enough money for a couple to live, if one of them had an outside job. I have news for you, even if you have 2,000 acres, most of the time one of them needs an outside job to continue farming or ranching.

    Why is the free market failing in these areas? Because there hasnt been a free market since the depression. Once a product is publicly traded, the price is set. You cant sell it for more, no matter what, and you cant barter it, because even if you barter, someone in that line of traders is going to need cash of some kind to keep that circle alive. For a simple but fun explination, rent the film "The Mating Game" with Tony Randle and Debbie Reynolds.

    The price of food is never going down no matter if you cut subsidies completely or leave em alone. However I dont see anyone in congress with enough guts to change the way things work now. Its simple, if you cant show that at least 80% of your income comes from farming, without adding the subsidies, you are a hobby farmer no matter how much land is involved. If you played basketball for a living and bought land but are only farming the government, you shouldnt get a subsidy. And so on.

    One of the reasons that hemp and pot are still illegal is that those in power haven't figered out how to make them a publicly traded commodity controlled by a few people.

    In reality the closest thing there is to a free market in the US just might be the recreational pot trade in Colorado. It's highly regulated, but they can charge whatever the market will alow. This to will change as soon as Monsanto, the big three tobacco companies, and the federal government, come to some agreement on how to handle those pesky GMO cannabis strains.

    If we the people still elected congress, free market would still be alive. But in reality the congress is controlled by the same people that want even more control.

    Aint that the shits?

    The Blindman

  175. Bill Fleming 2014.11.24

    Yup, it is, Bill D. And it's not just here.

    "Mexico in the last 20 years has morphed from a country that fed itself to an importer of food, as thousands of farmers have abandoned the land and sought jobs in cities. The failure of the Procampo program also has helped drive many smaller farmers into the network of drug traffickers.

    Ricardo Garcia Villalobos, head of a federal court that handles agrarian issues, said 30% of Mexican farmland is planted with such illegal crops as marijuana and poppies instead of, or sometimes alongside, traditional corn and beans."

  176. leslie 2014.11.25

    both the abuse of substance industry (alcohol/pot ect.) and TIFs are entitlements, as are severance of minerals ect. the actual cost of capitalism is paid by taxpayers' loss of mental health, and tax base in a district so purveyors can get rich, loss of clean air, water, natural mountaintops, the bottoms of ocean bays filled with tailings slurry, ect.

    joop, rounds and daugaard know this. this is what our nation is built on.

  177. David B 2014.11.26

    "By the way, notice that Steve Schmeichel has declared his knowledge of illegal activity at neighboring farms and declared his own intent to break the law. USCIS should be sending agents to Schmeichel's door Monday morning to interview him about his knowledge of illegal activity."...

    Cory, Just for clarification… USCIS performs the administrative functions of processing immigration paperwork (visas, naturalization, asylum, etc)… U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) enforces the immigration laws… They would be the ones sending agents… I only bring it up because I know you’re a stickler for accurate information… :-)

  178. Les 2014.11.26

    """""sending agents to Schmeichel's door Monday morning to interview him about his knowledge of illegal activity."..."""
    You can't be serious. Not even a slight humor. Have you ever watched the swimmers on the Rio just under the ports of entry? Or the tiller outboards running the Gulf in view of all, day or night?
    I would bet a small fortune Schmeichel could not pay enough to get any of us comenting on this, to slop the hogs. Pay is no longer the answer in the US.

  179. larry kurtz 2014.11.26

    Les makes a good point: Schmeichel's hogs will not go unslopped.

  180. Bill Fleming 2014.11.26

    Hence the real reason there are 12 million undocumented workers and families in the US.

  181. Lynn 2014.11.26

    It just worries me about these huge confinement operations and where Industrial Ag is going with the need of these cheap laborers and here I am a fairly "dumb consumer". All these animals pumped with antibiotics and the amount of waste these facilities generate is a little disturbing to me but is this the future of Ag?

    It's been a while but I remember purchasing I believe a side of pork from a farmer who was a customer of mine and the pork chops, bacon and other items were incredible! It was so different from what I would get at a grocery store yet it felt good I was supporting a local farmer I knew. I wish we had the ability to support our local farmers and ranchers or help subsidize their incomes by purchasing directly from them but it just wouldn't be enough.

  182. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.26

    I appreciate that, Dave! Whatever badge those officers are wearing, they should be knocking on Schmeichel's barn door!

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