Thursday, November 22, 2007

Me and Gunga Dan...

A couple of weeks ago, a crew from Dan Rather Reports came to our farm to ask us about subsidies.  Gosh, were they surprised to find a farmer who thinks they are basically a bad idea.  So they took most of the day filming and interviewing us.

Wait - it gets worse.

They filmed in HD - not my most flattering medium.  I tend to look most attractive in dim light from a distance.

Those of you who have read my stuff for a while will not be surprised by my remarks, but I imagine some will be outraged that I oppose sending money to people like myself. 

Here's the weird part - many of those same people are working furiously to make sure I still get the loot!


Anonymous said... is interesting. Are you involved with "Phipps Farms"?

John Phipps said...


Farmers, of course, don't think much of EWG. And while I don't profess to know all their positions on environmental policy I can say this about their work on farm subsidies.

First, while many howl about the figures being published, it is public money and there has never been any dispute about the accuracy of their work.

Two, their productivity puts ERS to shame. One dude with some serious database skills downloads the USDA numbers and generates the tables and charts.

Three, the EWG figures are as close to real-time analogs for the rate of consolidation in our industry as we can get. Five years from now the NASS will trickle out numbers about farms and sizes today form the 2007 Census. That's pathetic. (See "The Reports That Time Forgot" in my archives).

I am not affiliated with EWG. As I said the the sidebar - these are my opinions. And I reserve the right to be persuaded otherwise. I do rely upon their numbers to guide my sense of what is happening to farms and farm sizes.

Finally, if you are looking at Edgar County payment numbers, I am not Phipps Farms - that is my cousin and his sons. My listing is John W (and Janice N.) Phipps.

I have often debated what to call my farm should I want to incorporate. I have threatened my cousins I was going to use "The Other Phipps Farms".

Maybe not...

Anonymous said...


It makes me so happy when I hear someone of your standing and exposure state your opinions about subsidies. I am a very small and relativly young farmer. I raise corn, soybeans and hogs. I DO NOT need welfare. It is immoral. Why the government sends me $23/acre each for absolutely nothing is flat out wrong - especially since I don't need it. And if I understand the politicians, Farm Bureau, NCGA, etc., they are begging for these subsidies to keep my in business. Ha! I can also say that my father, also a very small corn, soybean and hog farmer has never needed the subsidies. He has made very good money 34 out of the last 35 years.

John Phipps said...


I'm not so sure about my "standing", but I support the right of every farmer to speak with his/her own voice, as opposed to the ONE VOICE we are admonished to defer to.

I think we will look back on the last few decades of agriculture in the US as a particularly illogical and embarrassing professional aberration.

Thanks for reading.