Farmers have always been an independent breed, self-employed entrepreneurs who relish being their own bosses. Farmers value self-sufficiency and independence above most things. However, those outside the agriculture industry appear to think the government coddles farmers with the farm bill, subsidies, and government-supported crop insurance. To clarify my viewpoint I’d like to discuss crop insurance. There as a safety net in case of natural disaster (e.g., hail storm, severe temperatures, draught/flood), this insurance product helps reduce financial loss in the high risk farming industry. A recent NPR (National Public Radio) report nicely summarized farm bill legislation, and it serves as my source for this post. First, let me stipulate that the farm bill no longer pays farmers for not planting on particular fields, as was once done to encourage conservation of the land. Such a practice has always seemed inappropriate, in my opinion, as it encourages a dependent, parasitic relationship between the farmer and his/her government. And, by the way, many farmers have independently utilized crop rotation, and other conservation techniques, for generations. Currently, farmers are only paid insurance benefits as a result of a crop loss (based on a valid claim). Old-school farmers, such as those in my family, were never willing to take ‘hand-outs’ given for simply being responsible with their land (i.e., rotating crops to protect the soil’s nutrients).
I write this to forward my position that the farm bill should be maintained as a needed support to aid farmers as they pursue economic success. Sadly, financial survival is the farmer’s usual goal in the highly risky agriculture industry. The American banking industry has long had the FDIC, government-supported insurance, and most Americans are aware of the well-publicized bailouts of Freddie-Mac/Fannie-May and portions of the auto industry. Thus, the government is not unaccostomed to stepping in to offer free enterprise a safety net at appropriate times. Therefore, abandoning of the farm industry by ending farm subsidies/crop insurance would only be like cutting off one’s nose to spite the face, so to speak. What do you think?