Brad you voiced you displeasure with the current food bills, but did not tryu to advance a single program or system. You spent a lot of time in the past but nothing about the future. Production agriculture has changed alot. But it will never go back to the times you long for with a family of 6 to 8 on a quarter section of land with 60 sows and 60 stock cows and 25 dairy cows, with a chicken house full of layers and broilers and a large garden tended to by the little lady.
A noticeable missing part of your sketchy calculations is the price of land. today land costs represent a full third of the cost of production. Ground that changed hands over the last 5 to 10 years does not cash flow. The only way it works is to dollar cost average it over the entire enterprise. Come up with some specifics or all you have here is a nostalgia piece, not a policy proposal.
Thanks for engaging in dialogue, we need it! I think you’re confusing the original article, which looked backwards and fantasized that the changed farm bills over the past 60 years are working, without any description of what about them it was defending. Well, “market-based” means that the US, the dominant exporter, must submit, not use it’s clout for profit.
You can find abundant details by going to where I blog (in my bio) and reading “Primer: Farm Justice Proposals for the 2012 Farm Bill,” where you’ll find, not just the 3 online econometric studies (you know, on the 3 specific proposals I specifically identified,) showing that I’m correct and the others are wrong, but several others that made the came case over this long history of decline.
Lewis Mumford, by the end of his life, defined utopia as a mechanically controlled system that doesn’t face reality. The direction farm policy has gone has been inspired by fantasies of just such a mechanical utopia. Ag Economist John Ikerd, in CAFOs Vs Rural communities pointed to 56 studies finding that the mechanical utopia approach is very costly, and doesn’t work as well for wealth creation, which if you live in rural Iowa, you must be blind to not see in our small towns.
The original article was correct to say that it was describing “modern farming.” But that’s old fashioned, 20th century. That has morphed into MEGA-modernism, which is the application of old-fashioned ideas in support of “mega” corporate welfare and concentration. What we need are post modern solutions based upon advanced thinking. We see, then, that science is finding that a truly sustainable paradigm is post modern. The farm bill proposals I recommend are, by far, the biggest part of that in the farm bill, but we need more than that as well (other titles, antitrust, fair trade). What I support, then is a farming system that is better attuned to the realities of ecology/genetics, climate, fossil fuels, consumer-preferences, etc. in addition to farmer/crop-and-livestock/consumer/small-town/Iowa/US/global economics. And in fact, these more advanced systems do, in many ways, resemble the kinds of farming systems that have successfully evolved over 10,000 years (ie. it’s vastly superior genetic heritage compared to the mono-model).
A key factor in the price of land has been tax-loss farming, Congress has long understood, secretly, that the previous 60 years of farm bill changes has been failing, thus they invented the farm subsidy welfare system, a ton of tax write-offs for farmers, etc. Unfortunately, as farm prices were below full costs for a quarter century (1981-2006 for a sum of 8 crops, USDA-ERS), farmers couldn’t benefit much from the tax write-offs. The rich, in higher brackets could easily do so. But for 5-6 years since that lowest corn price in history (2005) we’ve had much higher prices, and the rich have made profits in farming! Red flag! They’ve bought up land in a frenzy, driving up prices, in order to have adequate write-offs.
Mr Wilson, Even though detailed explanations are high on the MEGO (MyEyesGlazeOver) scale, I am duly impressed. Most of the explanations of farm policy reforms that I’ve heard were coming from “sustainable” farming advocates who really were trying to get us back to the “sustainable” farms of some unspecified time in the past. You seem to be going beyond that. I only wish I could understand half of what you are saying..
Admittedly it is a small point but a great illustration of the tax the rich meme. It assumes that if the ‘rich’ pay X in taxes, let’s use 100 as an example. If you increase the tax rate 10% the revenue to the govt will then be 110. This assumes that the ‘rich’ will just pay the extra 10% Mr Wilson points out that the ‘rich’ just change their behavior to avoid the extra 10% And when changing their habits they may discover ways that not just maintain their tax liability at 100, but maybe attain tax savings so they are only paying 85. In the end the tax the rich crowd are left trying to understand how raising taxes 10% causes a reduction of tax revenue.
This is not a big mystery to business owners, because they understand price points and how they affect behavior.
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