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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  • Congress meddles way too much in the ag industry just as it does in energy. Congress, especially the Senate is where the blame lies on the rapidly increasing price of oil and food supplies.

    This is just one more example of the trouble they cause and another good reason why the Senate needs to be thrown out of office, all of them. We cannot survive economically with this bunch.

    Subsidies on ethanol production, no oil drilling, no oil shale production, extreme difficulties for new refineries, no new atomic energy, payment of sums to farmers for idle lands, other crop subsidies. Just take a look at the damage all of these things have done to our economy.

    You'll notice that we have 3 remaining candidates for President, all Senators. Kind of a scary thought that one of these will be our next President. Where have we gone wrong. They should be on their way out not moving up!
  • Unfortunate that the Congress talks about free trade abroad and then limits it at home.

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  1. I'm a CPA who works with a wide range of companies (through my firm K.B.Parrish & Co.); however, we work with quite a few car dealerships, so I'm fairly interested in Fatwin (mentioned in the article). Does anyone have much information on that, or a link to such information? Thanks.

  2. Historically high long-term unemployment, unprecedented labor market slack and the loss of human capital should not be accepted as "the economy at work [and] what is supposed to happen" and is certainly not raising wages in Indiana. See Chicago Fed Reserve: goo.gl/IJ4JhQ Also, here's our research on Work Sharing and our support testimony at yesterday's hearing: goo.gl/NhC9W4

  3. I am always curious why teachers don't believe in accountability. It's the only profession in the world that things they are better than everyone else. It's really a shame.

  4. It's not often in Indiana that people from both major political parties and from both labor and business groups come together to endorse a proposal. I really think this is going to help create a more flexible labor force, which is what businesses claim to need, while also reducing outright layoffs, and mitigating the impact of salary/wage reductions, both of which have been highlighted as important issues affecting Hoosier workers. Like many other public policies, I'm sure that this one will, over time, be tweaked and changed as needed to meet Indiana's needs. But when you have such broad agreement, why not give this a try?

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