What is in this article?:
- A tale of two farmers: Loss of safety net tops worry list
- Close to another drought
- Adds to uncertainty
• Gone with the farm bill is the basic, no-frills safety net for farm families.
• Gone is the publicly recognized good of government-backed food security for our nation.
• Gone is the direct link between the people who farm and those Americans who feel the daily pang of hunger.
Adds to uncertainty
“We already have enough uncertainty in farming from weather, bad prices, which currently means 45 percent lower prices for corn than they were last year. So, I already have uncertainty without uncertainty caused by the political situation as well.”
Hurst explained that farmers are constantly living under time constraints. If they are not able to harvest all their crops before the snow starts to fly in the Midwest, they face the prospect of huge yield losses, which drastically impacts the bottom line.
“It’s much like Congress with the farm bill expiring,” Hurst explained. “We know that no matter what happens, we will get our harvest out this year. Congress is a year late in getting its job done on the farm bill. It is expiring now and that is after a one-year extension. And now, even that has expired. Of course, Mother Nature never gives me a one-year extension on harvest. If I don’t get it done, I just lose the crop.”
He believes that if members of Congress could feel the same kind of time pressure he experiences during harvest, it could possibly make a difference.
“I don’t know what the parable is to this story, but if I do not get my harvest done, I don’t have any income for the year,” Hurst said.
“If I were to leave 30 percent of my crop in the field because I just don’t work hard enough to finish, I lose 30 percent of my income. Members of Congress seem to be able to maintain their income, while leaving well over 30 percent of their work in the field.
“It wouldn’t be a bad idea if we said that if they did not renew bills on time, if they didn’t finish a budget, if they didn’t finish appropriations bills, that maybe they ought to face the same penalties that any small business might face when they do not get their work done.”
Meanwhile, the farm bill has expired, and government has shut down due to partisan politics.
Both Hurst and Brunkow are hopeful both situations are settled before they bring in their last bushels and park their combines in their machine sheds. Otherwise, both know that it could be a long, cold winter for farmers and all Americans.