Along the Fencerow

Since September, you can’t pick up a farm publication without seeing something dealing with the new Farm Bill.

The Farm Service Agency offices across Kansas are holding public meetings to help explain the procedures and extension offices are plugging numbers in for farmers to see how the new bill will help them the most.

In urban and city areas, people scream that the government and citizens should not be spending money to assist the farmers. I found some interesting facts supporting the advantages and disadvantages of the farm bill.

Disadvantages lie mostly with the farmers and agencies trying to figure it out. Another disadvantage might be there isn’t enough in the bill to protect agriculture from bio-terrorist activities that could unfold.

Advantages could include that it is less costly than the last year’s of the 1996 Freedom to Farm Bill with emergency assistance. There are more conservation practices included in this bill to make it the most environmentally friendly bill ever passed.

The current U.S. Farm Bill accounts for a little more than one-half of one percent-or .56 percent of the U.S. Budget. The annual cost per household is $128.28. This equates to 35 cents per day.

Compare supporting the U.S. farm policy to the cost of supporting the entire U.S. budget, which comes to $22,835 per year for the average household.

The European Union subsidizes their farmers $309 per acre. In the meantime, farmers in America receive subsidies averaging around $49 per acre.

The average consumer in the U.S. spends an average of 10.9 percent of his or her disposable income on food, which is the cheapest in the world.

The United Kingdom is second with 11.2 percent income spent on food. One of the highest is India at 51.3 percent. European nations and Australia are in the 15 to 18.5 percent range of disposable income to feed their families.

Bradley Goering can be reached buy phone at 620-327-4941, or by e-mail at

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