Rural America Can Drop Dead-A Message From The Farm Bill Extension

Show-Me Life

Agriculture industry needs to fight together before it falls apart.

Published on: January 11, 2013

Well, now that I have your attention. With the fury around the farm bill extension, emails poured into my inbox with reaction from across the agriculture sector. Oddly enough, it is the one time when both advocates for small farms and large farms agreed on one thing--they were "disappointed."

But there were a few, more flavorful and less politically correct responses.

I read through the myriad of the same song-- upset by Congress not passing a 5 year bill on time leaving farmers plans still in limbo--just different source. Then I opened an email that screamed, "Show-Me No Nonsense!" This organization was not afraid to wear their disgust on their sleeve and wave it for all of the media to see.

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, which works with companies and farmers to advocate for federal policy reform that sustain agriculture, natural resources and rural communities, started its release by stating the farm bill extension deal is a "disaster for farmers and the American people." It went on to say that "The message is unmistakable-direct commodity subsidies, despite high market prices, are sacrosanct, while the rest of agriculture and the rest of rural America can simply drop dead."

Wow. And I here I thought I was upset with Congress.

I do understand the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition's frustration. The bill does not provide mandatory funding for the energy title, specialty crops, organic provisions and some beginning farmer and rancher programs. All of which are the interest groups they represent.

Still, while I appreciate a well-written, attention-grabbing statement, I am concerned over the material in my inbox. While farm organizations agree that there needs to be a new farm bill, they are still fighting over who gets the most benefits from a smaller financial pot.

On my farm, there is a finite amount of income during the month. Now, while my one daughter would like to allocate funds to purchase a new stud buck, my other would like to invest in proven ewes. Both would benefit our operation, but only one purchase can be made. While the two come to the dinner table with their reasons, we, as a family unit, decide what is in the best interest of our operation.

And just because one wins out over the other, no one leaves the table requesting that the other "drop dead."

Agriculture needs to come together, now more than ever, to fight for its industry. There are greater adversaries out there than your fellow farmer.