Washington Politics Adding To Mental Health Crisis Among Farmers

It all comes at a time when the U.S. Department of Agriculture is projecting net farm income could fall to a 12 year low. Those slipping prices have meant existing crop insurance programs, which guarantee farmers a minimum price for what they plant, aren't helping to keep farmers solvent.

The current farm bill was passed four years ago when crop prices were higher and farmers were faring better. That bill is set to expire at the end of September. Although many of the programs would continue even if Congress fails to act, the lack of a long-term bill would create further uncertainty for farmers as they begin to plan for the next planting season and apply for loans to put crops in the ground.

"The safety net which we have in the farm bill right now, which really helps farmers make ends meet during stressful times, is inadequate," Purdue said. "A lot of farmers are concerned that without improvements to that safety net, they're not going to be able to continue their operation."

Many of President Trump's farm state supporters in the Senate are starting to worry that the president's policies and the political fight in the House are taking their toll on farmers.

"A lot of these folks are really concerned and it's gotten to the point where in some areas there's been suicide hotlines that have now been established for more than a year," said South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds. "They want the president to succeed, they want him to be strong but they want to know what his end game is."

Rounds said farmers are generally big supporters of President Trump. But he said many are scared about the future and the stress and financial pressure in his home state of South Dakota may be causing the worst farm crisis since the 1980's.

"They still want to know what are you going to do with the farm bill," Rounds said. "Are you going to provide us with protections in the farm bill so we know that if we are hurt by the negotiations with regard to tariffs with China, is there something that is going to be able to get us by."

Those fears have senators like Rounds and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts frustrated that Republicans in the House are insisting on picking a fight with Democrats over food stamp funding in the farm bill.

"This farm bill means everything — more especially crop insurance," Roberts said. "There are too many questions unanswered right now. That's why we need to bring certainty and predictability so at least farmers can say, 'well at least I know I have that.'"

Roberts is working with committee Democrats on a bipartisan bill that he hopes to release in the coming weeks. And he's told Trump how critical the Farm Bill programs are in his home state.

Republican Senator John Thune says he hopes Trump and the rest of Washington realize the stakes.

"People are getting a little panicky out there," Thune said. "I think it's an issue the administration needs to pay careful attention to because if they get it wrong it could complicate an already very serious economic crisis in agriculture."

Farmers like Worth are certainly paying attention. He said he talks about politics with his friends now and they worry a lot about what's going on in Washington.

"You know, rural America really did elect President Trump and as of today, we're not mad at him," Worth said. "He's done a lot of great things for us. He created some he's also created some hardship for us too."

 

https://www.npr.org/2018/05/17...utm_content=20180517

People aren't racist, pills are.

Original Post

Farmers for Agriculture products need some smart marketers to promote & market their products being grown after some really good Ag Research Scientist look into finding other usages of products grown and or its by products. Marketing folks get excited when a breakthrough happens and a new idea wakes them up. Kinda like when corn was used in ethanol production rather than simply corn on the cob, frozen/can corn, corn meal. I think in Savannah, TN someone is utilizing Corn meal to make & sell "Hush Puppy's".  Need Many other new ways to create demand for the commodity. (old ideas still work, just boring)

I know from the above statement, I have over simplified. With each commodity usually an organization was formed (Pork, Cotton Producers Associations,etc.) to help its farmers promote & market its crops or other commodities. You've got some pretty sharp Research Scientist working to further the gene alteration of seed crops to withstand just about any kind of pest, weather condition or chemical known to man. I guess some would say that's a break through when your the farmer and battling insects, weather and weeds choking out your crops, causing you to loose your crop, causing you to loose the family farm. 

Not sure how you feel about it, but in Fall, I prefer an all Cotton Sweat Shirt vs the Cotton/Polyester blend sweat shirts. Can't find them anymore. You just can't beat the feel of 100% all Cotton, thick, sweat shirt.   Thumbs up for all our remaining farmers...

Why import when you can Can, Freeze most Vegy's & Fruits, unless you think its too much trouble. Your Local Farmers market will be Full of products to sell. Support them... I do, when its something I don't grow myself. If you don't want to support your local farmers market, I suggest going to Ethridge, TN on Saturdays. Its a fun event and Amish have received No Government Subsidies. I don't see how they do it, but its remarkable. Using heirloom vs.non-gm seeds . Seeds are collected & stored each growing season, the old traditional method and planted the following season or traded. Much like our ancestors survived for centuries before us. I recall my mother's answer when I ask her how she survived the Great Depression. She said, We didn't know we were in a depression. Everyone else around them lived the same way and never without food, clothing or basics of life. Ice was a bit hard to come by & summers were hot.

Try growing your own food, it will be an eye opening experience. My grandparents did. In their youthful years, only bought Salt, Sugar, Flour, Coffee & a few other basics. Everything was preserved for the winter & early spring months. Can you see today's society Starving to death having to live like they did. Today, I wouldn't be surprised if more homes would robbed for food, others put up for themselves and their families. But the Amish don't have a problem with it and No government subsidies.

 

While I appreciate your idea and the whole act of buying local and growing at home is GREAT, I don't think everyone has access to the ground needed or to the material needed to do this, right now. There are a few local programs, that I know of, that are teaching the kids to do these very things. Our local 4H program is leading the way. I don't think we can go a generation or two without importing a large portion of the food needed, without our nations farms or the migrant workers who are needed to harvest the produce. I'm not arguing that as Americans, we can't be more self sufficient, but we can't afford to lose our nation's farms, in the process.

Americans are wasteful. Especially food..and not knowing where it comes from other than the grocery store. Working in a back yard garden teaches children more than just letting life's lessons from our past heritage slip away, along with how they survived and actually had a good life. Understanding Why its important to see what its like growing your own food. (As I learned from my grandparents) Even on a small scale.. Kids do get it when started early enough...they love to show you what they planted & its progress. Actually proud of their success. I do believe that teaches a lot... You don't need government in your life to teach these things.. you may get a little Hungary, but you will never Starve.

As a youngster, I recall the county schools would let students out for a week to pick cotton to earn some spending money, even though farms also had began to use cotton pickers. It hard today for kids to go to work on some of the local larger scale farms with all the specialized equipment now being employed. Soon Robotics/Satellite technology will replace tractor drivers in the fields. Almost there. Next employment stop, program software writer for this field of study.

Are all farms government subsidized? I don't know but I'm pretty sure not. Maybe big farmers are. My father-in-law had a dairy farm, not a huge one. He worked so hard all his life. They didn't make much for how hard the work was. No government help.

I bet most people don't even think of where their meat, milk, produce comes from or how hard someone worked to get it to their table. The government should protect farmers. That's so sad that some farmers need a suicide hot line but understandable.

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