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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