Friday, June 22, 2007

Ok, I admit it, I have been lazy.

I was going to post some more farming pictures, but I took those on the daughters camera, and she has it at Bible camp, so no pictures.

I got an e-mail asking why I hadn't posted on immigration, a good question. Two reasons, well three if you count the lazy thing, anyway, first I believe that Jorge the Younger clearly stated in the 2000 campaign that he was going to push some kind of "amnesty", although he refused to call it that, so I for one am not suprised that he is failing to follow his Constitutional duty to defend this country from invaders from the south. He told us he wanted them to come here, it's one reason I never voted for him. Secondly, I've reached a level of frustration with the media that can not be described. The reponse of the public to this abominable piece of legislation was profound, yet if one were to believe the news vendors, this is no big deal, business as usual, same old same old. I'm afraid if I were to actually say exactly what I thought about the subject I would have some government agency showing up at my door, wanting to know why I had advocated packing illegals into schools buses like sardines and shipping them back across our southern border like lawbreaking trespassers. I'd be accused of being racist or some such foolishness. I don't care who you are and what color your hide is, if you are here illegally,GO HOMEand the sooner the better. I have relatives who would like to immigrate here legally and ya'll are making it impossible for them to get in.

I have also typed up a rather scathing note to the author of the book I reviewed earlier. I gave her book a favorable review, I've even given a few copies to young women that my wife and I know, I like her thoughts on having an "agent". But twice now I tried to post at her blog some comments about her tendency to blame men for all of the problems between the sexes, while refusing to acknowledge that her lifestyle, thought processes and even her own personal description tend to make her sound like a feminist. From her blog, Occupation: Author, Attorney and Homemaker
a Biblical woman would not put her children and husband last. Debbie the proper way to list these things is as follows. Wife, mother, then sometimes author, and if I have to so we don't starve, lawyer. If the lawyer thing is more important than the homemaker thing, her priorities are all out of wack, which is exactly what I've been trying to tell her.

If she keeps refusing to have a discussion about her feminist leanings I'll have to post my entire letter here.

Congrats to my youngest brother. He and his lovely bride had a bouncing baby girl on Monday. Haven't seen her yet, although from what I've been told we can thank the Lord for several things, one, a safe delivery, two, that some minor problems for the baby after the birth seem to be gone, and lastly, the child looks like her mother. Life is hard enough for little girls without being born with the disavantge of looking like your father.

Enough foolishness for now,

Ok a quick story. Two weeks ago Saturday Tom Tancredo was speaking in a town nearby. I worked most of the day hauling cattle floor(crap), onto a recently harvested alfalfa field. The meeting was at 6 I got home from work at 5:25, the Mrs was at a homeschool conference, ran through the shower, told the kids to behave until their mother got home(about 6:00) and hurried out the door and down the lane at 5:40. I can make the meeting right on time if I hurry. I made it three miles before the local county mounty busted me for speeding. I was stopped and sitting on the side of the road, ranting about my bad day, before he hardly had his lights on. I just stood on the brakes and pulled off to the side, stopped so fast he had to drive by and turn around to get behind me. He comes up to the door, asks for license, registration, and proof of insurance. I'm not particually happy, made some comments about what a lousy day I was having, trying to be at a meeting at 6:00 etc. He said, "Don't get mad at me," I said, "I'm not blaming you, I am just having a very bad day". He went back to his car to do his thing, I'm thinking, great, a ticket I can't afford, on my driving record, and late to the meeting beside.

About thirty seconds later he comes running back to my van. He has all my paperwork (license, registration, and proof of insurance) in one hand, he shoves it into my hand, waves his finger on the other hand at me and shouts SLOW DOWN, runs back to his car jumps in, and races away with tires squealing and lights flashing.

Now the question is, is it correct to thank God for keeping me from getting a ticket, or should I be confessing for having been driving to fast? What'da think, thanks or confession?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Other Shoe Drops

In the previous post, I put up a column which showed the huge amount of money that has been transfered to production agriculture in the last 10 years. Now with the advent of the ethanol industry, the price for grain has risen, subsidies are no longer necessary, and the livestock industry is actually having to pay a price for the grain it consumes, which reflects a real cost of production, rather than a subsidised cost. After all the money that livestock sector has made in the last few years, one can easily guess the response. They want things the way they used to be. So they are now intent on killing the ethanol/biofuels industry.

I'm posting a link here, which gives more details on this fight. This writer,who I highly respect, has been dead on, in his analysis of the ethanol business, the changes in production agriculture, and the price changes relative to those conditions.
Since I still can't seem to make the links work, you'll have to cut and paste this to your search engine.

Go there and read this column, and any others you see, you'll get some good insite into the farming business.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Understanding the Problems in American Agriculture

This is a copy of a column written by a guy I read regularly. He tends to see things from a liberal point of view and I do not agree with him alot of the time, but I believe that this one column does a great job of explaining some of the current problems in production agriculture. After you have read this, in a couple of days I will post another column from another writer who will show some of the effects of this problem.

Sir Isaac Newton meets Congress

Newton's Third Law of Motion,
"For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction," has direct application to the physics of Farm Bills.

For example, the 1995 Farm Bill, Freedom to Farm or F2F for short, was to run seven years and cost taxpayers $50 billion. Congress, however, wrote such an unbalanced law that it ended the "market-oriented" experiment a year early after the U.S. Treasury blew through more than $100 billion of your money.

Congress's arrogance of accounting -- "$50 billion? $100 billion? Whatever." -- was matched only by its ignorance of physics. F2F's action of unbridling production and subsidy spending delivered a predictable reaction: a nine-year run of over-production, low prices and enormous subsidies.

The opposite and equal reactions to this cheap grain policy then rippled through the rest of agriculture, according to Timothy Wise of Tufts University's Global and Sustainable Development Program.

In a Feb. 26 paper released by Tufts, Wise calculates F2F dropped U.S. corn prices 23 percent and U.S. soybean prices 15 percent below their respective costs of production from 1997 through 2005.

In turn -- and here comes Newton -- livestock "feed prices were an estimated 21 percent below production costs for poultry and 26 percent below costs for the hog industry."

The cheap feed became a windfall for the big pig and poultry gang. Based upon "available market share information," Wise and Tufts policy analysts estimate the "economic savings for the top broiler and hog producers from (the) below-cost feed from 1997-2005" was a collective $19.75 billion.

The flood of institutionalized, cheap feed lifted the biggest boats the highest. Tyson Foods, calculates Tufts, saved an estimated $2.6 billion in feed costs in poultry operations over the nine years; GoldKist saved $1.13 billion; Pilgrim's Pride $1 billion and ConAgra Poultry $900 million.

The pig boys fattened themselves at F2F's trough, too. Smithfield, estimates Tufts, saved $2.54 billion on feed from 1997 through 2005; Premium Standard saved $680 million. Two other pork giants, Seaboard and Prestage benefited to the tune of $678 million and $426 million, respectively.

The cheap feed caused a chain reaction: huge profits funded the continued integration of the meat industry.

In late 2003, Pilgrim's Pride bought competitor ConAgra Poultry for $590 million and leapfrogged GoldKist to become America's biggest cluck. Then, this past January, Pilgrim's Pride completed its purchase of GoldKist (for $1.1 billion) to become the cock of the walk.

The others giants used their F2F savings to integration ends, also. In 2003, Tyson's bought beef giant IBP for $3.2 billion and, on May 4, Smithfield bought Premium Standard for $1 billion.

The F2F-funded concentration and integration of market power had other, on-farm consequences. For example, the number of independent U.S. pork producers fell from 138,690 in 1997 to 65,540 in 2005

In fact, in 2005, only 115 pork operations, or 0.2 percent of all operations, produced 55 percent of all hogs in America. In 1997, that same ratio was 20 times larger: 4 percent produced 55 percent.

All of the above should serve as inarguable background now that Congress is eyeball-deep into writing the 2007 Farm Bill. Its legislative actions, as in 1995 and 2002, will fuel market reactions. Yet, few Farm Bill writers seem to know Newton's Third Law.

As proof, House aggies already are robbing conservation programs to underwrite a massive, near-doubling of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, a program whose largest beneficiary is big livestock producers.

That action carries this predicable reaction: more and larger animal confinement units, more environmental problems and fewer independent livestock producers.

Farm Bills can do many things, but they shouldn't finance big agbiz getting bigger.

Columnist Alan Guebert has covered food production and ag policy for more than 20 years. He can contacted at or by writing to 21673 Lago Drive, Delavan, IL 61734