Are We Listening? Are We Farming Soviet-style?

Northstar Notes

These references to "Soviet-style" farming throw me, just as statements about President Obama and his socialistic policies.

Published on: June 24, 2013

These references to "Soviet-style" farming throw me, just as statements about President Obama and his socialistic policies.

Really? We live in America, folks, where democracy is practiced day in and day out.

I did a Google search about Soviet-style farming in the U.S. and found a post from 2002 from the Heritage Foundation (sister organization to Heritage Action), in regards to the 2002 farm bill. The article was entitled "The Case Against The Farm Bill." One of its points was "The Soviet approach to farm subsidies." It said the 2002 farm bill read like "a Soviet-style five-year plan" because it brought back "centralized planning in agriculture, and will prevent American agriculture from becoming the vibrant, creative, dynamic force needed to compete in 21st century global markets." The article also noted that the bill was "the largest non-defense expansion of the federal government since the Great Society," and that it made no sense.

"Farm policy is based on the premise that a surplus of crops has lowered crop prices too far and farmers need subsidies to recover lost income," the article stated. "However, the federal government's remedy is to offer subsidies that increase as a farmer plants more crops. This creates greater crop surpluses, driving prices down even further and spurring demands for even greater subsidies."

You must admit that the latter makes plenty of sense. The market forces of supply and demand are not at play when a farm bill overreaches and overprotects.

Yet, Americans love their cheap food. And they want it bountiful.

They need to be reminded of that, over and over and over again.

And Soviet-style farming in U.S.?

U.S. farmers are independent businessmen and women who OWN their land and machinery. They take pride in that ownership and work hard to be the best stewards of their natural and man-made resources. They have been rewarded for their efforts and have made the U.S. the most productive country in the world. Under Soviet-style farming, that never happened. Capitalism was not present to encourage competition and innovation.

The very best U.S. agriculture is where it is today because of the freedoms we have and that includes the freedom to farm—conventional, organically, large and small.

As I mentioned before, we live in a democracy and that can get messy. Case in point is this defeat of this farm bill in the House. All voices were heard.

As tough as it is, agriculture needs to take its lumps, regroup and find new common ground.

Good luck.