Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Like taking money from...umm, Congresspersons...

The Washington Post has been reading AgWeb, and alerted by Jim Weisemeyer's analysis, reached much the same conclusion as I did about farmer participation in the ACRE program. I think the most amazing part for me is this program finally is aligned to benefit recidivist forward-sellers like me.
A blog item posted Monday by the agricultural magazine Pro Farmer described the new program, known as Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE), as "lucrative beyond expectations," and said it is a "no brainer" for farmers to sign up for it.

The Agriculture Department estimates that subsidy payments to corn farmers alone could reach $10 billion a year if prices -- which have been $5 to $6 a bushel -- were to drop to $3.25 a bushel, a level seen as recently as last year. The $10 billion figure assumes most farmers would participate in the program, a view disputed by key lawmakers. [More]
If prices, like we all gloomily fear, start to drop, then we could reap a cheaply bought insurance payment even while profiting from aggressive forward sales. (Gosh - sounds kinda like the Katrina LDP bonanza) This is not the outcome I want, of course, but sometime in the last few weeks, as the pushback from commodity buyers strengthens, it is one that looks more likely to farmers than before.

It would also allow me to just about balance out some unfortunate forward sales I am still eating my way through right now.

I wonder if the crop insurance money machine has realized this farm bill amounts to a double cut in their whopping profits? I bet they have legislation poised to add money back in.

More provocative to me still is the surprising idea that a vote for the farm bill might not be the be-all and end-all for rural state politicians that tradition says it is. Check these informal poll results, for example. Not too different from these numbers. What if rural legislators LOSE because they voted for the farm bill? Given the paltry number of voters who benefit even in rural states, the outrage building over food prices, and the now-revealed budget exposure, the voter math is likely less favorable - and in some districts perhaps negative. Now add in a Republican candidate who has vowed to end subsidies.

This vote is not a political sure-thing.
If elected, McCain could get the job done.
Any real chance to sustain a presidential veto of the farm bill vanished because of what senior House Republicans heard from President Bush when they were summoned May 9 to the White House for a pep talk.

Bush informed the assembled Republicans that he was about to veto the final version of the farm bill for excessive spending. But he went on to suggest that Republicans from agricultural districts, hard-pressed in a tough election year for the GOP, would be free to vote their own interests. This was seen as caving in to the ''aggies.'' [More]
Permit me a wildly unlikely suggestion: What if farmers themselves see the opportunity to simply grow up and move out of the house? What if we are ready for a future without people pandering to us?

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