NewsTalk

Welcome to the archives for NewsTalk, an IBJ blog published from November 2007 through December 2010.

Farm bill stranglehold

May 28, 2008
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It isnâ??t easy providing tomatoes to the nation.

Consider the ongoing struggle at Red Gold Inc. The stateâ??s largest food processor, which is headquartered north of Anderson in Orestes, was all but locked out of buying tomatoes from Indiana growers under the 2002 farm bill.

Red Goldâ??s competitors in California, Florida and other warm-weather states persuaded Congress to rig the legislation to keep as much production as possible close to home. Red Gold survived by pleading technicalities.

Now Red Gold has a limited reprieve. The 2008 farm bill enacted last week allows Indiana farmers to raise tomatoes on as many as 9,000 acres without being penalized on subsidies for corn and other crops. Thatâ??s enough to supply Red Goldâ??s operation and allow for an expansion, but still a short leash.

Red Gold credits U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar and U.S. Rep. Mike Pence for swinging enough elbows to allow it to operate.

What do you think? To what extent should Congress limit food production?
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