Ran across a letter today from a Dr. Michael B. Slama in the Yankton Press & Dakotan. The two take-aways were that Kristi Noem is a hypocrite and Stephanie Herseth Sandlin is an independent voice for South Dakota. Here’s a bit:
The KELO blog states that Rakota Valley Farms has received $2,765,175 in farm subsidies from 1995 to 2008. If Kristi Noem is a “Tea Party” and/or Republican candidate she apparently loves socialism more. Actions speak louder than words.
If one would need that much money to keep a ranch going (of which she has 16.5 percent interest) it looks like time to get out of the farm business. What do you think she would do in Congress if subsidies for farmers were up for debate? Is this the type of person we want representing us in D.C.? While it is legal to get this money, it is morally reprehensible — it is what it is — a form of farmer welfare.
Those who drop by even from time to time understand that I am not a supporter of agricultural subsidies. I’ve talked with a number of farmers and ranchers over the years and find that they too often wish that matters were different–and that folks were rewarded by the market in accordance with their efforts. And, yes, I find such subsidies to be the outworking of socialistic economic planning.
The reality is that if one is to run a farm or ranch in South Dakota in 2010, one takes advantage of whatever programs are available from the federal and state governments. Why? Because the market is based on the subsidies. If a farmer/rancher today tries to function without the subsidies while competing with all of the neighbors who are using them, he has to work much harder. I’m not saying that it cannot be done, but I am saying that the effort involved precludes most people from being willing to bet the farm on the success of a subsidy-free farming approach. Yes, there are any number of hobby farmers who do not use subsidies, but I’m speaking of those who are attempting to farm for a living.
In short, the playing field (or the meadow, if you prefer) is steeply tilted in favor of those who farm with subsidies. If taking this money is “morally reprehensible” then we need to unplug the subsidies from the market for everyone at the same time. Realizing that markets do not like sudden changes, I’m even willing to consider a farm bill which would entirely eliminate direct and indirect farm subsidies over a 5-to-10 year period.
I am reasonably certain that Noem stands the same place that Thune, Johnson and Herseth Sandlin do: in support of those subsidies that South Dakota farmers and ranchers have come to love. I’ve postulated (but I don’t know exactly how to go about proving it) that it is not possible for one to be elected to represent South Dakota at the federal level unless one is a supporter of farm subsidies and alternative fuels. After all, those issues are of great interest to the ag industry here in the state. Despite being a full decade into the 21st century, South Dakota is still largely driven by agriculture and dependent industries.
What would Noem do if there was a vote in the House for farm subsidies? Well, I suppose she would do about the same thing that Herseth Sandlin does and vote for the bill.
There are any number of issues where these two ladies would disagree, but I don’t see that this is one of them. Believe me, I wish it were.