LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD
June 21, 2002
Back in June about 600 farmers from Mexico blocked an international bridge on the US Mexican border at Laredo, Texas. They wouldn't move until Government officials heard their demands. They demand the Mexican government offer them the same subsidies that the US farmers receive. I suppose these Mexican farmers are looking forward to the New World Order as is Canadian Trade Minister Pierre Pettigrew who says US farm subsidies are distorting the North American agriculture market and the problem should be dealt with by global, rather than regional organizations. He said farm subsidies and steel tariffs should be agreed upon at the world level and the WTO (World Trade Organization) would be the best institution to resolve the issue.
The present US Farm bill will increase agriculture subsidies to about 190 billion dollars over the next ten years. This upsets both Mexico and Canada because NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) is to reduce tariffs between the three countries. Let's look at these "farm" subsidies and see who is really being subsidized, because to the outsider it would be impossible for an industry to receive all this money and still be in a financial bind.
Let's say minimum wage is $5 an hour but the owner of a manufacturing company will only pay its workers $3 an hour. The workers say "that's not fair" and the government steps in and pays the worker a subsidy of an additional $2. Now the worker is making minimum wage but who is really being subsidized here? The worker or the owner of the manufacturing plant? While the worker may be getting the government payment it's the plant owner that has the advantage of being able to hire help for only $3 an hour when he should be paying $5, so the subsidy is really going to the manufacturer.
Likewise -- Let's say it costs $5 to grow a bushel of soybeans and Cargill is only paying $4. That means the farmer is losing one dollar on each bushel of beans he produces. In steps the government with an LPD (Loan Deficiency Payment) of $1 per bushel. Now the farmer can at least break even and keep farming for another season. Who received the subsidy -- the farmer or Cargill? Last fall Cargill could buy soybeans for around $3.80 -- the loan rate was $5 so the LPD was $1.20. These figures change on a daily basis but the entire program is based on a plan to take the independence away from the individual producer.
The major players in the business -- Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland and ConAgra are the real benefactors of the Farm Subsidy program. These government programs have allowed the multinational corporations to take control of the world food supply. These corporations show record earnings by receiving a disproportionate share of the economic benefits from the food system. From the "New Deal" days of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the AAA (Agriculture Administration Act) of the 1930's until the present time the American farmer has been a victim rather than a beneficiary of the "farm" subsidy program. I doubt if the Canadian and Mexican farmers understand this any better than do most Americans but wait until the WTO takes over the farm program on a global basis. Will they really welcome the New World Order?
© 2002 Derry Brownfield, All Rights Reserved
Editor's Note: The Coming Battle, published in 1899, documents how farmers were set up to fail throughout the 1800's by controlling the commodities market. To order The Coming Battle, call: (800) 955-0116. Excerpts can be read at: http://www.NewsWithViews.com/books/thecomingbattle.htm
Derry Brownfield was born in 1932 and grew up during the depression. He is a farmer and a broadcaster. Derry attended the College of Agriculture at the University of Missouri where he received his B.S. and M.S. degrees. He taught Vocational Agriculture several years before going to work as a Marketing Specialist with the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Derry served as Director of the Kansas City Livestock Market Foundation at the Kansas City Stockyard prior to establishing himself in farm broadcasting.
Derry started farming when he was 16 years old and received the Future Farmers of America State Farmer degree in 1949. Since that time the Brownfield Farm has grown to over 1000 acres maintaining a herd of 200 registered Charolias cows.
In 1972, Derry and his partner established the Brownfield Network which now serves 250 radio stations throughout the Midwest with news and market information.
In 1994, Derry started his own syndicated radio talk show and he is one of the most popular radio talk show hosts in America. The Derry Brownfield Show can be heard on approximately 80 radio stations in 23 states. With his entertaining sense of humor and witty commentary he has captured audiences for over 30 years. His ability to present an informative talk show while being light and colorful is why he has a large loyal listening audience.
Derry Brownfield is a practical farmer, a practical business man and a very entertaining speaker. He travels extensively throughout the country speaking about his common-sense point of view. Web Site is: http://www.derrybrownfield.com