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Welfare_farm - Cropsubsidies,defended as essentialto the...

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. Crop subsidies, defended as essential to the survival of family farms, instead are destroying them, along with entire rural communities. ! BY CAIT MURPHY
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SOIL OF THE NORTH- .Palouse region is among the richest in the country. Much of it is sunk ill and around outcroppillgs of Ice Age silt dunes; farmers and ranchers here sometimes 'work 50-degree slopes. One of them is Read Smith, 57, who raises beef cattle and soft white wheat on his CheITJ Creek Ranch. A fifth-generation farmer, Smith would like to be confident that his son Jeremy, who works the land with him, will be able to hand over the legacy to a seventh generation. But he isn't Modem farming has become a dire mix of frustration, hard work, low retums- land; no one is coming in to replace them. And when he looks at Washington, D.C., he sees incompetence. "If any of our elected leaders think that our farm policy is working, they are not paying attention," he says. How can this be? After all, America's farmers are among the most cosseted con- stituencies in the country. In the past five years alone, they have soaked up a record $99 billion in subsidy payments. Such charitable largesse might lead one to be- lieve agricultural production is on the edge of collapse. It isn't. According to a recent briefing from the Agriculture Depart- ment's Economic Research Service, "2004 and countexproductive government poli- cies. A host! of farm programs promote growing as ~uch as possible. Some years that means a glut. Prices can drop so low that Smith loses money
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  • Spring '09
  • mcbrearty
  • gamethe farm programs, CheITJ Creek Ranch, ruralYcCAIT MURPHY ommunities, small liquidfertilizer. farmers, hasbecomea dire mix

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