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Friday, August 3, 2012

Congress Leaves Drought-Stricken Farmers High And Dry

Dried corn plants in Yutan, Neb. (AP)

Lawmakers are headed home for August recess without resolving differences on two key bills. One would protect U.S. infrastructure from cyber attacks, but there’s an impasse in the Senate over that.

Lawmakers also failed to pass a bill to help livestock farmers suffering from high feed prices because of drought.

Meanwhile, livestock farmers are growing more desperate as feed prices continue to rise. The Progressive Agriculture Organization, a group affiliated with the National Family Farm Coalition, has called for a series of emergency measures, including possible limits on crop exports.


Other stories from Friday's show
  • Congress Leaves Drought-Stricken Farmers High And Dry
  • Full Rundown
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  • Pgoslett

    And we pay them for their exemplary behavior and their efforts to keep the country on an even keel?

  • George

    The high price of corn is not due to one drought, it’s due to ridiculous amounts of corn going to make ethanol. Which, by the way, is processed in plants run on electricity produced primarily by fossil fuels, this hurting the environment and killing the cattle all at once. But at least all the progressives can still feel good about driving “green” cars past all the starving cows.

    • NE Dairy Farmer

      George is right. DC politics gave us corn-based ethanol! People like me, a dairy farmer, who are traditional users of feed grain for livestock, cried “Foul!” immediately when the special interest ethanol program was unveiled (tariffs, tax credits, forced utilization!). Did anyone anywhere listen to us? No! We were on our own to try to figure out how to pay for hyper inflated feed bills over the past several years, with no ability to pass on our surging feed cost to produce milk, and that, too, because of similar federal “special interest” raw milk pricing policies that favor the “industry” raw milk buyers and processors over farmers by not including farm costs to produce raw milk (like grain costs!) in the federal milk pricing formula. Incredible! Ethanol from corn is a sick joke, cruelly played at the expense of farmers, ranchers, their livestock, taxpayers, consumers,and our national food security, and everyone can now see that because the drought has revealed the folly of the entire scheme. “Green” energy it is not and never will be! How could it be  when the crop is produced with the same technologies (energy-intensive cropping practices, using petroleum-based inputs, like commercial fertilizers, powerful chemical sprays, and high-tech seeds). Additionally, corn-based ethanol is driving the hedge-row-to-hedge-row mentality as it  displaces common sense agronomy practices, including incorporation of the vital livestock-based manure cycle to regenerate depleted soils from the intensive monoculture that also takes out grass, hay, and sod needed for livestock in favor of row crops. No one questioned the wisdom of any of this except a few real farmers who understood that any nation so short-sighted that it tolerates without question putting this amount of its corn crop into government subsidized corn ethanol will hit the brick wall some day. That day is here because of  this horrifying, attention-getting drought of biblical significance. Not only did our brilliant DC leaders in both parties give us corn ethanol, but they gave us all the “Free Trade” agreements that export the rest of our grain overseas for others like China to buy while our own American livestock starve before being trucked to accelerated slaughter! SO STUPID!  Watch out! These are the same DC politicos who are screaming for passage of the current bloated, rip-off  “bipartisan”, “reform” (Ha! Ha!) 2012 “Farm Bill,” which will “reform” NOTHING but will, with different “tools,” continue the same lunatic and destructive farm/food policies that already brought us to where we are today! No way should the current House and Senate 2012 Farm Bill drafts be passed if the American taxpayers want real ag and fiscal reform. If the Stabenow-Lucas Farm Bill passes then, truly, the current  entrenched unprincipled bipartisan cabal will be intensifying their dominating control over our critical food supply, all at the TAXPAYERS’ risk and  expense.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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