The morning’s panel of farmers represented a variety of perspectives, ranging from more reasoned to more reactionary. Among the ideas suggested:
- Find a balance between food and fuel in the policy debate (though no clear directions how)
- Increase trade in global markets (always easy to talk about forcing other countries to buy more of our stuff without addressing the domestic industry issues)
- Invest in new research and technology (and in land-grant universities…now, how can I argue with that?)
- Take that research and technology and give it away (thereby eliminating any private incentive for investment)
- Limit subsidies going to large farms so only small farms benefit
- Big companies should be busted up (no matter the efficiency implications for consumers or ag producers)
- Prohibit contracting between packers and livestock producers because it creates “captive supply” and thins out the cash market (thereby eliminating packers’ ability to provide consistent quality meat products to consumers and many producers’ abilities to access financial capital)
In short: Farmers want to make more money and want to change the rules to get more of the money in the system. Surprises, anyone?
The question of the morning (from my perspective):
How much of the consequences associated with some of these ideas are intended or simply foreseeable?