Farmers provide us Americans with almost a billion meals a day. They also provide food for millions of others around the globe. They are willing to sign notes to finance millions of dollars for equipment, facilities, seed, fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides needed to grow a crop—a crop they pray mother nature will smile on and afford them a profit.
I forgot to mention the cost of owning farm land and the rental of additional acres. They are dedicated to the land, their animals and their way of life. A friend of mine who was a dairy farmer for 25 years said he enjoyed 22 days away from the farm in that time. His brother-in-law, who was a truck driver for the county for 25 years, had a total of almost seven years off. Which career would you choose?
Farmers survive in spite of the help from the government. For example, Congress wouldn’t pass a law requiring country of origin labeling on imported foods so we could by American products. I think all of us would rather not purchase food from countries still using herbicides, pesticides and fungicides we banned as carcinogenic twenty years ago. When mother nature smiles and the farmers have a bumper crop and make a reasonable return on their investment, the seed, fertilizer and chemical manufacturers raise their prices and siphon off a chunk of their profits.
When saying grace before a meal and thanking God for the food on our tables or the food on our laps at the drive thru, think about the dedicated farmers willing to work untold hours and gamble a big chunk of their life savings on next year’s crop.
I fully agree with Senator Kevin Daley’s commentary in last week’s Tri-City Times regarding the elimination of the stepped-up basis valuation for farm land. That change would require heirs to pay more in capital gains tax when farms are passed to the next generation. I understand some farm estates that are broken up and sold off today are being purchased by hedge funds. Do you think hedge fund managers can keep the billion meals a day coming? Personally, I would bet my knife and fork on a third or fourth generation farmer.
Senator Daley, in light of the record borrowing and spending of the last three administrations and the current administration’s projected spending and borrowing plans, where would you propose we cut spending and/or raise taxes to reduce our ever upward spiraling national debt?