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Good Luck, Mr. President

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As President Obama begins his second term, the focus should be on supporting agriculture.

"We have a chance to finish what we started. Our work begins today. Let's go," tweeted President Barack Obama before his official inauguration yesterday morning. Swearing in the 44th president of the U.S. is a historical moment for our nation, regardless of whether you voted red or blue in the last election.

Obama’s inaugural address focused on equality and coming together as a nation. The event was a distinguished affair with former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton in attendance, as well as performances from James Taylor, Kelly Clarkson and Beyonce.

In the next four years
, Congress will butt heads on some big issues such as gun control, the fiscal cliff, the war, and the farm bill. As Obama starts his second term, it’s vital that we communicate our priorities to our elected officials in Washington, D.C.

Call me biased, but everyone has to eat. Agriculture needs to be a top priority if we are going to be able to feed the masses and support food security in this country and around the world. And, in order to do that, the Obama administration and Congress must come together to support America’s farmers and ranchers.

The Bismarck Tribune editorialized on this issue yesterday stating that, “The last U.S. Congress, stumbling along the fiscal cliff, fearful of public angst over potential doubling and tripling milk prices, extended the farm bill for nine months. That was not a victory for anyone, certainly not for farmers. It was, according to Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, ‘absolutely amazing.’ She was amazed because behind closed doors, Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) agreed to a nine-month extension of the 2008 farm bill that changed nothing — not policy or funding. It ignored a bipartisan extension of the farm bill negotiated by Stabenow and Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK), chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. It certainly left out the consensus on eliminating direct payments to farms, a big hitch in the public’s view of federal farm programs.

'There’s no way to explain this other than agriculture is just not a priority,' Stabenow says.

“That echoed what USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack has been saying. President Barack Obama has asked Vilsack to stay on as ag secretary in his second term. Back in December, with the fiscal cliff fast approaching, Vilsack told farm leaders that the nation didn’t have a farm bill because agriculture has ‘become less and less relevant to the politics of this country.’ These comments by key farm officials in Washington set the stage for a new Congress and renewed expectations for writing a farm bill, hopefully a five-year farm bill, which has been the tradition.”

In order to stay in the cattle business, what support, if any, do you need from Congress? What are you looking for in a farm bill? Or would you prefer if it expired? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Discuss this Blog Entry 20

Anonymous (not verified)
on Jan 22, 2013

The more we can keep government OUT of all agriculture, the better it will be in the long run. Any government big enough to give you anything you want is big enough to take everything you have!

Anonymous (not verified)
on Jan 22, 2013

I agree with the above comment. If we had no farm bill the best farmers would stay in business as it should be but also wouldnt be getting any program money to help the large scale farmers stay ahead of the new generation of farmers and ranchers.

Blaine (not verified)
on Jan 22, 2013

Agreed with all of the above. Let the market take care of the market. Some will thrive, others fail, but a fair playing field for all.

I have zero confidence in this administration and he is certainly no friend to free enterprise. Take care of your own, people!

steve roth (not verified)
on Jan 22, 2013

Agree with the above. Must bite my tongue on those who blame everyone but themselves for the problems they've created.

Innsbrook (not verified)
on Jan 22, 2013

His speech yesterday gives little hope of anything other than another 4 years of the community organizer approach by the community organizer......stoking economic envy among neighbors, driving class warfare, demonizing the successful and raising ethnic tension to elevate his own power at the expense of the country. It's all he knows how to do. It's all he cares to do. And agriculture is not even an afterthought to him, it's no thought at all.

Jim R Hoagland (not verified)
on Jan 22, 2013

i agree with most of the above, wish the gov. would not try to be too invasive. let the markets control our out come.

scs (not verified)
on Jan 22, 2013

I applaud the comments that agriculture is better off without the government. I would guess that those commenting are more livestock producers than farmers since in my experience livestock producer prefer to be independent of government intervention whereas many farmers would rather farm for government payments and insurance payouts.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Jan 22, 2013

Agree with the above we don't need anything some rain won't fix and the government can't provide that. Let the market make the keep and cull decisions. Those that provide a product consumers want in an efficient manner will make the cut.

Tom P (not verified)
on Jan 22, 2013

Washington will be Washington until we have camapaign finance reform, term limits and a balanced budget. Every D C elected official has already started their reelection campaign for 2014 and beyond. they have privileged health care, retirement, perks beyond belief, so why leave D C. We have two distinct groups in America," tax payers" and "voters". That was never more evident than in 2012 election.

on Jan 22, 2013

I wish "Good Luck" to our Nation. I have no ill will towards the President but do have deep reservations about where he wants to take this country. I also applaud the above posts and agree that most of us that feel this way are livestock oriented rather than grain producers.

Bob Mueller (not verified)
on Jan 22, 2013

I have been in the farming bussiness all my life, wich is 84 years, through good times and bad. Probably the best times were when there were no govt. controls. I agree we need all the help we can get, but honestly my best years in the farmimg bussiness was when

Bob Mueller (not verified)
on Jan 22, 2013

Finishing my comment, I maybe wrong but we can get too many govt. controls which can be a set back to some farming operations. The last decision just made by the govt. makes it very difficult for farmers to plan for future bussiness. Thoughts from a WI. farmer????

Bob Mueller (not verified)
on Jan 22, 2013

I have been in the farming bussiness all my life time which is 84 years. Looking over the past years my best times in the farming bussiness was when govt. stayed out of it. I pobably might be considered from the "Old School" but too much govt. regulations are not all good. For years we had no govt. regulations and I believe these were still the best times to get ahead. Thoughts from an old WI. farmer, but I could be wrong???

Anonymous from MO (not verified)
on Jan 22, 2013

Glad to see so many agree with me...
GET THE GOVT OUT!
Let the market take care of itself.
Stop the govt requirements of corn usage for ethanol. If corn is good for ethanol, they'll but it.
STOP, stop, stop the payments to people to NOT be farmers! If you are involved in CRP, are you really being ethical?!?!?!
And don't get me going about useless govt regulation...

Anonymous (not verified)
on Jan 22, 2013

I believe the Government needs to be half its current size, paid- based on performance. Travel- economy class, on their on time. Retirement based on years served, max 25% salary. That's just my thoughts at the moment..............................

gb (not verified)
on Jan 22, 2013

Get rid of the farm bill, We don't need any programs and then change the name to the food welfare program, since that is what over 80% of the farm bill is anyway....Food stamps, WIC, Etc.

on Jan 22, 2013

The fact of the matter is agriculture employs 24 million people in this country but we have very little voting power. If the US government really wants to support agriculture and encourage new farmers and ranchers they need to repeal the death tax and get out of our way.

If this nation ends up in a civil dispute (Shooting or not) over constitutional liberties agriculture will lose far more than any other population sector.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Jan 23, 2013

The facts showing the costs to agriculture of having the govm't farm program and the benefits of getting them out are in a book by 2 ag economists - Pasour EC, RR Rucker (2005). "Plowshares & Pork Barrels: The Political Economy of Agriculture"
The Independent Institute - http://www.independent.org/
book highlights here - http://www.independent.org/publications/books/summary.asp?id=59

If everyone bought a couple copies, read one, sent one to each of their congressmen, asking them to give it to their staff member in charge of agricultural issues with instructions to read it, and told the congressmen they were go to ask questions based on the book at the next meeting with them, we might have a chance of getting a farm bill that's good for agriculture for once.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Jan 24, 2013

Don't be in a hurry to shoot yourself in the foot.Surely any new bill out of this administration will be worse than we've had before.

W.E. (not verified)
on Jan 27, 2013

We are cow-calf producers. Does every writer to this blog have a direct stake in the packer and feeder industries? Have all cattlemen become subject to the lies that govern grain farmers? A new farm bill won’t help cow-calf producers any more than the old one did. Only one percent of America's farmers remain from the forty percent that existed before World War II. We are told that it's because farmers have become more efficient, but it's really because some farmers have always been subject to greed; most of us need very little encouragement to take over our neighbors' land, whether or not we can adequately take care of that land. A smaller segment of the population is much easier for government and industry to control. A little propaganda and some government payments, and we have sold our souls. Some grain farmers in our neighborhood leave their fields bare during the winter and then go on cruise vacations while the winter rains wash their soil away. Having fewer farmers gives independent agriculture less of a voice and makes those of us who truly try to be self-regulating producers even more of minority. Industry, with the help of government, has succeeded in blinding most farmers to the true effects of the industrial market-based economy. Packers and feeders depend on the market, which depends upon grain, which depends upon government payments and industrial profits. Cow-calf producers depend upon rain, snow, sun, and soil and the competence of their animals to do their job with the lowest man-made inputs possible. We and our cattle are completely at the mercy of nature and subject to nearly all of her laws. The market cannot manufacture rain nor refill an aquifer. The market can rarely help cow-calf producers, and neither can the government, because our existence depends upon nature, not industry. Unless we find our own markets, we must also take whatever foolishness the industrial end of the beef industry hands out, like dictating the size of our cows and telling us that we can support any size cow (with grain) in order to get them the kind of calves that will make the most profit—for them—in the feedlot. What we would like to see is less packer concentration, a less wasteful and less expensive USDA inspection system, so we can get our home-finished beeves processed closer to home in a timely manner.

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A fifth-generation rancher from Mitchell, SD, Amanda grew up on a purebred Limousin cattle operation in which she and husband Tyler are active. She graduated with a degree in agriculture journalism...

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