Answer to easy farming, and more profit ?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by bumpus, Jul 16, 2005.

  1. bumpus

    bumpus Well-Known Member

    Jul 30, 2003
    Right Here
    Everyone try this letter

    Honorable Secretary of Agriculture
    Washington, D.C.

    Dear Sir;

    My friend, Ed Peterson, over at Wells Iowa, received a check for $1,000
    from the government for not raising hogs. So, I want to go into the
    "not raising hogs" business next year.

    What I want to know is, in your opinion, what is the best kind of farm
    not to raise hogs on, and what is the best breed of hogs not to raise?
    I want to be sure that I approach this endeavor in keeping with
    all governmental policies. I would prefer not to raise razorbacks,
    but if that is not a good breed not to raise, then I will just
    as gladly not raise Yorkshires or Durocs.

    As I see it, the hardest part of this program will be in keeping an
    accurate inventory of how many hogs I haven't raised.

    My friend, Peterson, is very joyful about the future of the business.
    He has been raising hogs for twenty years or so, and the best he
    ever made on them was $422 in 1968, until this year when he got
    your check for $1000 for not raising hogs.

    If I get $1000 for not raising 50 hogs, will I get $2000 for not
    raising 100 hogs? I plan to operate on a small scale at first,
    holding myself down to about 4000 hogs not raised, which
    will mean about $80,000 the first year.
    Then I can afford an airplane.

    Now another thing, these hogs I will not raise will not
    eat 100,000 bushels of corn.
    I understand that you also pay farmers for not raising corn
    and wheat. Will I qualify for payments for not raising wheat
    and corn not to feed the 4000 hogs I am not going to raise?

    Also, I am considering the "not milking cows" business, so send
    me any information you have on that too.

    In view of these circumstances, you understand that I will be
    totally unemployed and plan to file for unemployment and food stamps.

    Be assured you will have my vote in the coming election.

    Patriotically Yours.

    P.S. Would you please notify me when you plan to
    distribute more free cheese.

    Film at 11:00 am
  2. cloverfarm

    cloverfarm Well-Known Member

    May 31, 2004
    In all seriousness, we were in teh USDA Milk Income Loss program for the last year or so we had cows. All it did was prolong the agony.

    That is my opinion of government farm programs in general. Just prolongs the agony.

    I would say conservation programs have a good goal in mind, which seems to be the point of the OP. But not sure if the end result is what the planners intended.

    DH is still a full-time farmer but we do not participate in the farm programs. Low participation around here -- most of the Amish and Mennonites don't participate unless the bank says they must.


  3. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

    May 20, 2004
    SE Missouri
    Never could see much use in the getting paid for not raising something business. I s'pose someone will come up with a long and detailed explanation of the whys and wherefores, but it still won't make much sense to me.
  4. Jenn

    Jenn Well-Known Member Supporter

    Nov 9, 2004
    The Mennonites who rent from us participate so I guess I do also. My parents always used to laugh at the South Dakota farmers who thought welfare queens were cheating them out of tax money. The average farmer gets a lot more welfare than the average unwed mother!
  5. palani

    palani Well-Known Member

    Jun 12, 2005
    Is anyone here old enough to remember the term 'parity'? I think it had something to do with the price of commodities arouind the time the federal reserve private banking system was first formed. It had something to do with the government guaranteeing farmers that equivalent prices for commodities would be maintained on a par with around 1913 prices.

    Unfortunately, these parity levels would be so ridiculous now that if available more people would be fighting to get into farming than are now trying to figure out how to scratch out a living.

    You might have heard of the Nebraska farmer that got arrested for child abuse last year? He tried to leave the farm to the kids.
  6. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

    Dec 7, 2002
    Dysfunction Junction
    The farm I work at has about 150 dairy cows and got almost $38,000 last year.
  7. Bob in WI

    Bob in WI Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2002
    Western WI
  8. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jan 20, 2004

    Some pencil pushers in the '60s & '70s had such ideas. So there were the set-a-side programs. We had too much grain being produced, and they wanted to protect farmers from oversupply, but also protect USA from a food shortage if the natural course of things eliminated farming entirely.... Many of the problems in agriculture through the '80s were caused by govt policies with foriegn countries - embargos, trade deals, pressures.... If we had world-wide free trade it would be a different thing, but our govt has used grain as a bargining chip so many times we are conidered an unreliable source anymore & other countries look to South America for expanded food production.

    So, here we are.

    Now, this little letter deal is funny & everything.

    There is no such farm program any more. Hasn't been since the late 70s I believe.

    Currently there is a farm progarm thay pays a certain subsidy per acre & per bu produced. It is rather complicated, but it's basic purpose is to prop up land prices so the property tax stays high so everyone can collect more prop taxes.

    There are also several conservation programs, in which the govt rents your land to create wildlife areas. There is a lot of maintenence & weed control & native plant establishment in the contracts, so these programs are no free handout - it is a business deal, & the govt is competing with other farmers to rent land is all.

    You might agree or disagree with the point or need for these programs, but none of them are free money for raising nothing. These types of threads often turn into a lap in the face of farmers - as you say, you don't understand the programs, how they were created, or what the goal of the program is.....

    Yet, everyone is pretty quick to judge.

    Ah well.

  9. Barb

    Barb Well-Known Member

    May 14, 2002
    West River SD
    Good post Paul :bow:
  10. Sparticle

    Sparticle Well-Known Member Supporter

    Nov 1, 2004
    is there any more you can tell me about this?
  11. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jan 20, 2004
    Here is the web site for the Conservation Reserve Program, they can explain it better than I. I'll quote their openning page at the end of my message here so you can get the snapshot view. :)

    This program accepts bids on land a farmer is willing to enroll in the program. There have been many 'timeframs' over the years - a friend bought a property where 15 of his 23 acres is locked into a perpetual program. He does pay taxes on it, & he _must_ keep it in native grasses, & he _must_ control noxious weeds on it. The previous owners got the lump-sum money for it...

    Now a days it is generally a 10 year program.

    They allow grazing of the land _only_ if a drought emergency is declaired; you maintain the grasses that are growing there (not clip too short); and if you refund most of the money you would get for that year.

    No other use of the land is allowed, save hunting on it. In fact, the land owner kind of looses control of this land, can't really prevent hunting on it.....

    The govt actually hopes that trees & such establish, & after 10-15 years in the program you no longer return the land to useful production. So they no longer want you to mow the land for weed control. This is all grey area stuff tho...

    They accept bids from farmers for specific property for certain amounts of money. They accept only a certain amount of land from these bids - depending on how fragil the land is & how low the bids are. They generally are looking for marginal land that is steep, wet, or otherwise not so good for farming anyhow. But, the land needed to be in rowcrops previously - no putting an unused pasture into this program!!!!

    Now, you can agree with or disagree with the merrits of the program. Sometimes I think they've gone too far.... But, it is just the gov bidding against other farmers for use of the land for 10 years. With stipulations of what you must do to mantain the land. Typically they require a very specific seeding of native plants - these tend to be rather expensive & difficult to establish - and they have specific pre-plant weed control & seeding methods. No skimping on broken down weedy land. You have to do it their way, whatever the cost, or redo it if it didn't work right the first time.

    In my state, at times they have their own or add-on programs, such as RiM (Reinvest in Minnesota), CREP, and others. I may have mixed in some of the state & national programs together, but they work about the same.

    These things don't have much to do with farming or farmers, other than the govt is renting land from them. It is a habitat & wildlife program. Not any type of handout or welfare for farmers. Kinda bugs me when people lump those things all together. I don't see these programs as any type of welfare - doesn't make sense.

    As to the current _farm_ program - it's real complicated & messes with a person. There are 3 parts to it; 1. A payment per acre left over from previous farm programs. 2. An LDP (Loan Deficiency Payment) that is a per bushel payment when crop prices are below a certain level when you harvest the crop; 3. And a counter-cyclical payment if the year-long national average crop price is too low.

    Actually the only one that makes sense is #3. The first 2 are smothering farmers with love.... The money from the first 2 are just passed on to higher land costs or land rents.

    That third one is the one that is supposed to protect us from dangerou price drops that could wipe out USA agriculture. You can sign up to get this payment early. If it turns out crop prices are higher than first thought, you need to refund your early payment(s). So far I have never recieved a C-C-payment. Has not kicked in.

    Now, if you go to that web site someone mentioned, they have all of the money rolled together - the Conservation Reserve Program, and the early payment of the Counter Cyclical Program. Looks like farmers are getting big money for nothing - farm welfare.

    But, the CRP money has nothing to do with farmers - it is the govt renting land for wildlife uses. And that web site does not deduct the required planting & maintenence one has to do on the CRP land. That is an out of pocket expense every year.

    Also they include the advance Counter Cyclical Payment. But they do not deduct it as it is recalled by the govt.

    Pretty false totals all around, if you ask me. I don't think much of their anti-farmer spin.

    However, for those of you who understand the farm program, and wish to take apart or modify the LDP portion and the Base Acreage Program - I'm all ears. Those parts could be highly modified, and after a bit of pain, all would be fine. Then also keep the govt out of _any_ exports with other countries in the future. The grain embargos of 30 or so years ago was a death blow to agriculture in the USA. These programs are what is left of that whole mess.

    The current farm program expires after 2006. A new one will come along. All 3 portions of the current one do not work well with the many free-trade agreements being made, esp with the ones we are making with Europe. There is a pilot program being tried starting last year, where farmers get rewarded x dollars per acre for doing goo conservation practices - like less tillage, or better fertilizer & manure management, better pest management, waterways & so on & on. Farmers compete against each other to be accepted into this program for now.

    It is believed the new farm program will closely match that program, as the free trade regulations allow a govt to repward farmers for doing things, instead of per acre or per bu price supports.

    We will see.

    Wow this is long, it is late, sorry for the length & typos.....

    Conservation Reserve Program

    **** The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is a voluntary program for agricultural landowners.* Through CRP, you can receive annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to establish long-term, resource conserving covers on eligible farmland.
    **** The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) makes annual rental payments based on the agriculture rental value of the land, and it provides cost-share assistance for up to 50 percent of the participant’s costs in establishing approved conservation practices.* Participants enroll in CRP contracts for 10 to 15 years.**
    **** The program is administered by the CCC through the Farm Service Agency (FSA), and program support is provided by Natural Resources Conservation Service, Cooperative State Research and Education Extension Service, state forestry agencies, and local Soil and Water Conservation Districts.*