Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Bam! Pow! Kablooey!...

People, people, people - you are soooo missing out if you are not following Jim Weisemeyer's extensive coverage of the presently subterranean farm policy debate.

I know, I know, you have to subscribe to Pro Farmer - but would that kill ya?

Anyhoo, on Oct. 6 Jim ran a column that quoted extensively from an unnamed policy analyst who (oversimplifying here) basically disputed USDA pronouncements about who receives farm program money. The anonymous author (which makes the piece problematic for me to begin with) did some pretty torturous reasoning IMHO to make his case that everbody in the farm world was getting plenty of goodies.

I went ballistic, fumed for while and then logically shot [via e-mail] the messenger - er, Jim. Not a hurtful wound, of course, just the kind of shoot-the-gun-out-of-the-hand shot made famous by the Lone Ranger. My bad.

Well, boys and girls, it turns out I was not the only reader somewhat upset.
A few weeks after the column appeared I was contacted by USDA and told it was a "direct and personal attack" on Ag Secretary Mike Johanns as to what he has stated in farm policy speeches-- even though it did not specifically mention his name on some of the quotes included in the dispatch. Johanns, his Chief Economist, Keith Collins, and Communications Director Terri Teuber would eventually meet me during a meeting on this topic. Johanns had a very busy schedule on the day I conferred with Collins, but the Ag Secretary stopped by for more than a few minutes to make some of his views known on this and some other important matters. [More by subscription]

Jim is still a little too subsidy-tolerant for my taste, but NOBODY is putting out the information like he is.

Even if only for the next year - get your subscription going just to watch the fireworks.

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