I am not without sympathy for federal workers whose pay was delayed by the partial government shutdown. But that sympathy withers when these workers’ plight is compared to Vermont’s dairy farmers.
Mark and Kate Bowen, owners of Meadowdale Farm in Putney, discuss how heavy regulations, high financial losses and creeping anti-farming attitudes have made life in Vermont challenging for farmers.
Farm bills past have repeatedly disappointed those who believe in free markets, reduced dependency on government, and individual freedom. This latest farm bill, according to published reports, would be the worst in recent memory.
An oversupply of milk nationwide has resulted in suppressed milk prices for more than four years, and put many Vermont farmers into a state of economic insecurity that has forced them to make difficult choices about their future.
For conservatives to support any farm bill, Congress should adopt the House’s reforms to require more work-capable recipients of food stamps to work or prepare for work as a condition of receiving benefits.
This may come as a surprise to some, but the farm bill should really be called the food stamp bill. Food stamps account for about 70 percent of farm bill costs. The Senate farm bill doesn’t do anything to reform food stamps. It doesn’t reduce dependency on welfare assistance.
“By subsidizing crops, subsidizing the insurance of these crops, we end up with surpluses of one commodity at the expense of a shortage of other crops that should have and could have and would have been planted but weren’t because government masked the signals that market consumers were sending to those producers.”
The House Agriculture Committee’s farm bill is a complete rejection of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2018 farm bill principles when it comes to farm subsidies.
During President Barack Obama’s tenure, the so-called “Waters of the United States” rule had been strictly defined to apply to “navigable waterways” but interpreted to mean that even ditches or potholes with water in them could be regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. This was a huge overreach.