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Turkey Wrangler
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http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/07/26/2778/

California’s top subsidy recipient from 2003 to 2005, Bowles, 88, of San Francisco, collected the $1.2 million in mostly cotton payments through her family’s 6,000-acre farm, the Bowles Farming Co., in Los Banos (Merced County). She could not be reached for comment.

Another family member, George “Corky” Bowles, who died in 2005, collected $1.19 million over the same period. George Bowles once ran the farm but lived on Telegraph Hill. A collector of rare books and 18th century English porcelain, he served as a director of the San Francisco Opera and a trustee of the Fine Arts Museums.

The farm is run by Phillip Bowles in San Francisco. Phillip Bowles was on vacation Tuesday and could not be reached. He told KGO television last week that he’s no fan of subsidies, but if big cotton growers in Texas get them, so should he.

“Many of these businesses are getting 20 to 30 to sometimes 40 percent of their gross revenues directly from the government,” Phillip Bowles told KGO. “I don’t have a good explanation for that. Somebody else might, but it beats me.”

Economists say they can find no rationale for the subsidies, which started in 1933 as temporary aid for small farmers devastated by the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. Then, a quarter of Americans lived on farms. Today, less than 1 percent do — so few that the Census Bureau quit counting.

“The programs are just outdated,” said Daniel Sumner, director of the UC Agricultural Issues Center and a leading farm economist. “No one can think of a legitimate reason why we have these farm programs for a handful of crops in the United States.

“If the best the committee could do is say these payments are to help people in need, and we’re going to define for farm legislation that somebody’s in need if the family makes $2 million a year — a million for the husband and a million for the wife — that’s a little strange. If these are really welfare programs for the needy, we don’t normally cut those off at $1 million. It’s more like $20,000.”
 

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Don't fully understand but in Europe they supposedly directly pay farmers for what they want- for planting wildlife corridors etc or for maintaining tourist attracting rural landscapes. Here why not pay off and subsidize what we genral US taxpayers really want- money to keep in farming, farm families netting under $50,000/ year without the farm subsidies?
 

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In farming in the USA, we want it all.

Cheap food. Look at the thread here on rising food & feed costs......

No tax money involved - look at the many threads like this one, on the rich farmers, high subsidies, etc.

Food as a weapon - Jimmy Carter & his grain embargos is the big white elephant, but most administrations of all strips have done so, or threatened to do so, which deeply cripples the prices USA farmers get from exported grains.

A good strong food supply - manipulate prices enough to keep a surplus of grains & food around to keep USA people from ever going short - this does deeply depress grain prices.

Strong environmental controls - good for the environment, but can really crimp a farmer when property is just claimed - most farm programs offer to rent the land for environmental use. Many anti-pollution measures add a lot to the cost of produced grain - issues which farmers in other countries do _not_ have to deal with and can undercut us on price, while being harder on the environment. Can't compete unless the govt helps out - then no food produced here any more, want to import everything from countries that have no environmental controls or food safety?????


All together, those govt subsides have come about to address all of the above. They are not based on the need of the farmer; rather they are based on the need of the consumer.

I'd _love_ to farm without them on my small farm. The bigger farm neighbors around me say the exact same thing. But that will not happen. See the above list - govt control & support of ag will continue, and get stronger, not less.

Big farm or small farm, the same subsidy per acre is available. Payments are made for environmental easements or to farmers who participate in managing a farm (biggest gotcha on that is crop-share - this _requires_ the land owner & tenent to also share the govt payments....). There is no big vs small issue on this. The subsides are there to keep farming going according to customer demand in this country. Has little to do with any farmer's needs. It is designed to shape agriculture to fit the rest of the population's wants. Farmer - big or small - not important in this whole issue.

If you don't like the subsidies - get mad at the consumers. They are the one's driving it.

--->Paul
 
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