Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cutting the Safety Net?

President Obama's 3.6 trillion dollar budget proposal would call for the USDA to cut direct payments to farmers with annual sales over $500,000 (and steer nearly all of it into new spending on non-farm programs). The proposed limit has been set to cut off assistance to "wealthy farmers" but is based on gross sales without any consideration of on-farm expenses or profitability. It also doesn't take into consideration that family farms such as mine have to support more than one household. This measure would be considerably hard on the nation's dairy industry as we are all struggling mightily with profitability issues right now.

Thankfully, we have friends in high places. Rep. Collin Peterson, the Minnesota Democrat that leads the House Ag Committee, has called the proposed plan "a very stupid idea" and commented that it was "more than dead on arrival." Peterson also went on to add an example of how it would effect dairies in his home state:
"If you got a 100-cow dairy, you're probably going to have over a $500,000 gross [income]. So you'll probably surprise the Minnesota 100-cow dairyman that he's a millionaire."

for more, read this Washington Post article

1 comment:

Dairy Woman Strong said...

I am a 100 cows dairy farmer in MN and I do have more than $500,000 in income. We hope to add more cows in the future to add more family members to our farm, but this limit serious hurt the "family dairy farm".