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During the last census I did not return the information to the USDA as they said was required by law. Come March I did receive a call one evening telling me to return the completed form as required. Being slightly more bull headed then most I asked them to send me the paper I signed saying that I would fill it out. I told them if wanted to know my ag income contact the IRS, acres contact FSA, and production contact Rain & Hail and told them thank you and hung up. So far I have not gone to jail as told I would and have not heard anything back from them until the other day I received this years census witch is in the trash. They ask for to much information and the government does not need to know our business. Bill

K.C. Fox says 2017-12-24 09:39:52 (CST)

Some people think that they already have the information there asking for, if they do they don't need my in put. If they don't have that information they don't need it, or they would already have it.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

BrianL says 2018-01-10 08:30:34 (CST)

I don't recall if it was to this survey or some other government-required subject, but the government email was sent out to a large number of farms. One farmer, replied by hitting CC and, to I don't know how many others on this vast email list said, "I don't have time to answer your stupid questions. I'm 83 years old, I farm alone and I have too much to do already. Leave me alone."

I couldn't help but chuckle.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2018-01-10 12:10:51 (CST)

I did answer the questions of the Census, but I think it is primarily aimed at the commodity producers, such as corn, soybeans, wheat, also beef, pork and poultry. Those are the ones most reliant on the government, and while in their organizations and politically acting like independent capitalists, in reality they are feeding on the taxpayer, but do not admit it. Most of us here on the Front Porch are kind of "alternative" farmers anyway, who use the government's agricultural services only sparingly, if at all. But , of course, we are also connected to the greater scheme of affairs.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Dusty 4R says 2018-01-10 18:21:35 (CST)

Klaus, when can we alternative farmers start calling conventional commodity farmers "government farmers" ? I think every government farmer should have a sign stating so posted on the entrance to their property. Their subsidies are posted online already.

Hey just a thought, happy new year from Idaho.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2018-01-10 19:08:51 (CST)

Now, Dusty, that's an idea worthwhile pursuing. Now, I do not think there is anything disreputable receiving help from the government( = all of us, the tax payers) if necessary, but for the sake of full disclosure, I think you are on to something here. It would also make it harder for these people to rail against others receiving help, for example poor people who depend on Medicaid. And there are a lot of those in rural areas, not just in the inner cities!
Back to the census, I do believe there is a necessity to know most of these facts for the agencies who are supposed to assist the farming industry( that's the modern term now for what we used to simply call farming). For example, the other day I saw on RFD-TV that a farmer in Virginia was praised and admired for producing 542 bushels of corn per acre. If such overproducing nonsense is even emulated by others there won't be enough money to stem the ensuing attrition among farms being crushed under the weight of ridiculously low prices. Unfortunately many farmers respond to low prices with higher production, which collectively only aggravates the problem. Anyone who has ever read Adam Smith's " Wealth of Nations"(he is the ideological father of capitalism) and has come across his metaphor of the 'invisible hand' by which individual self-interest contributes mightily to the greater good, will easily see that present day commodity farmers are a counterproof to such statements.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

BrianL says 2018-01-12 14:15:53 (CST)

There are some good ideas here, but it's important to remember the commodity farmers aren't necessarily the ones on which to lay exclusive blame. Yes, they are part of the problem and yes, they brought much of what's gone wrong with commodity farming's financial near-collapse upon themselves. But to lay blame on their doorstep is a bit like making an example out of the drug mule while the head of the cartel goes unpunished.

There is something fundamentally wrong when a "crop" (and I'm using that word loosely) is grown at a loss for four years running and that's considered business as usual by the USDA. There is something fundamentally wrong when land is degraded, oftentimes irreparably, so that someone a thousand miles away can reap unimaginable personal financial wealth. The fact is, the real money in that sort of farming is on Wall Street with the commodities traders who profit most when the farmer has a bad year due to drouth or other crop loss.

These industrial commodity farmers are, in a sense, being duped. Tell them they "feed the world" and they'll go on growing crops for which there really isn't sufficient demand, domestic or global. When they come up short, let the "government" (and Klaus is correct, that includes all of us) make up their shortfall. Create a system where commodity crops are federally subsidized to ensure a steady (over) supply to keep stock markets "stable" since this, and not the general welfare of the population, is what constitutes a healthy economy.

Again, I'm not defending the practices of most of these industrial farmers. But as they've dug themselves a proverbial hole, I can recognize why they'll make a deal with the devil to secure some semblance of hope that they can one day climb their way out.

If a lot of us here are the alternative to what has become of mainstream farming, then our ways of farming, which I suspect are varied and diverse as the countless number of small farmers working their land, are more important then ever. Feed the world? I think striving to feed one's community is a better place to begin.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2018-01-13 10:40:50 (CST)

Brian, in no way did I want to hold commodity producers solely responsible for their boom-and-bust cycles, certainly politics has something to do with that , too. The career employees of the USDA have to follow what their political bosses tell them to do, and while I am pretty sure that a lot of them agreed with the trends in agriculture I have heard about internal discussions as well. In order to execute the many programs, data are necessary and that's why refusing to participate in the Census is not the answer, speaking up is. And that's exactly where I think most farm organizations are failing their members, and the farmers are failing themselves. Exactly the group that easily falls for the rhetoric against government ( Remember: Government is not the solution, it is the problem! or we need a small government) is dependent on government programs to a very high degree.
Everybody knows the adage " Don't put all your eggs in one basket", which ironically is based on agriculture itself, but the highly specialized commodity farms of today do not heed that advice at all. Instead they are looking for export chances= low dollar, improved genetics= high seed costs, more efficient technology= more expensive machinery etc.
In the mid 80s the Draft Horse Journal carried an article by Wendell
Berry about a farmer from Ohio by the name of Lancie Clippinger, titled 'A Good Farmer of the Old School'. The essay can also be found in Wendell Berry's book ' Bringing It To The Table' subtitled On Farming and Food, pp119 Worthwhile reading and a lesson for everybody. It reminded me of a farmer friend in Bavaria who never fell for the specialization mania , never went into unaffordable debt he couldn't pay back within a few years,and who fed his family on 45 acres with a small herd of dairy cows, which he managed very smartly, some hogs, poultry, sheep, and diversified crops, working his fields with a tractor and a team of horses. His son still does the same today! They never considered farm work a burden, didn't count the hours , but loved their lifestyle. I myself ,incredulously, watched him when he wanted to buy a horse or purchase some implement, reach for a big jar on top of the kitchen cabinet to see if he had enough money to do that. The banker never had a hold on him.
What do I want to say with all that? Yes, farmers are not solely responsible for their situation, but mainly. The sad thing is, that even people who acted like my friend were of course impacted and their life was made harder, too, with all that folly.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Wes Lupher says 2018-02-20 21:38:25 (CST)

Apparently I missed out on where to get this government money that cattlemen supposedly get.
It's funny to read this stuff sometimes.

I don't care for the surveys myself either. Seems like they pry awful hard.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

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