Jersey Cow of Canadian – Economic Value For Farmers

May 20th, 2014

Agriculture in Canada is among the most sophisticated and technologically advanced in the world. The importance of beef cattle to Canadian agriculture has increased steadily since the Second World War. There are about 86500 beef cattle farms across the country; of those, more than 70% are cow-calf operations.

Jersey Cow of Canadian

Beef is a very important food in our daily meals. Unlike raising pig, raising cow has many economical benefits and beef is really high nutritional value. While pig’s productions are only flesh, breeder and fertilizer, dairy cow also provides us with abundant milk production 10 times its weigh each year. Just like when buying best electric smoker, you must choose the right best smoker for the money, then buying a cow you have to choose the best breeds, affordability to serve the long term interests. Jersey cow is such an animal like this.

Jersey cow is a kind of dairy cattle which is small in size and lives mainly in the island of Jersey. Although cattle are raised for milk but each year it provides milk and fat yields fairly high. A Jersey cow has a long lifespan, it is capable of reproducing steadily, and especially highly adapting with changing environment. At the age of two, this cow can give birth easily without any kinds of artificial assistant.

Normally, an adult cow weighs 400kgs with the height of 125cm. Jersey Cow’s milk has higher protein than its counterparts. In comparison with it ratio between body and milk, it breaks record of milk, fat and protein. Its milk is used to produce cheese very well. Its milk involves in 6 % fat and 4,2% protein. The yield of milk every year is estimated around 4680 kg – 100 times more than its weight.

Jersey Cow

As a result of small size, Jersey cow require less feed than the other larger breeds, and subsequently require less intake in order to meet basic metabolic maintenance needs once in production. The average Jersey cow will eat approximately 80% as much dry matter (DM) as a Holstein cow, despite often being less than 75% as big of an animal. Jerseys are also efficient in the fact that decreased feed needs results in a smaller land base required, as well as fewer costs in harvesting and in storing feed, and less manure to spread.

If you’re interested in buying Jersey cows, it’s quite easy once you know what you’re doing and how to go about it. You should expect to pay $1600-2000 for a pregnant Jersey cow. There are three things you should require when buying a dairy cow: firstly, it should come from an established dairy–not some random individual farmer with a cow for sale then, it should be bred and confirmed to be pregnant.

In order to raise Jersey efficiently, we will have to learn many experiences and it is essential that we have a full knowledge this cow. To sum up, The Jersey breed is the most economical and financially viable dairy breed. The smaller size is a benefit due to efficient conversion of feed, lower labor costs, higher components, lower health and reproduction costs and lower investment in fixed assets. Moreover, beef is many people favorite food because that it has low fat, doesn’t cause obesity as pork. Otherwise, it has very specific taste. It is superior foods, creating brand names for many famous restaurants. Today this breed has been popular in many countries around the world, and as a matter of fact, they have bought back enormous source of income.

Farm Loans – Development the agricultural economy

June 28th, 2014

Things have been heating up in Minnesota and far more than the summer’s heat wave is involved.

Farm Loans

“Concern over the ag economy has gone from people being a little concerned about it to people being scared about it,” says ag banker Steve Lindholm, president of $31 million-assets Farmers and Merchants State Bank, Clarkfield, Minn. As July came to a close, Lindholm called Prairie Grain, one of the local elevators, just two blocks from the bank, for the prices on soybeans and corn. They were down again: corn at $1.46 per bushel, and beans at $3.89 per bushel.

The news was discouraging, but no big surprise. With some compensating factors for distance to market (called “basis”) and such, the local elevator’s prices pretty much follow the direction of the national price level, which is to say, below production costs for most farmers. The record harvests that have been predicted for both crops have pushed grain prices down. Drought in the East has prompted some scaling back of yield predictions, but not enough to affect prices significantly.

In Clarkfield, however, Lindholm is still expecting excellent yields. “I’m not expecting them to equal last year,” he says, “but we’re almost there, absent a bad wind storm or a hail storm.”

But there is a feeling, almost, of dis-connectedness about price levels. “Most farmers are able to get the Commodity Credit Corp. loan rate out of the grain they have in inventory now,” points out Lindholm. That and the loan deficiency payment program, worked in combination, can get the farmer better prices than the cash market.

However, “better” isn’t actually “good.” “They can’t make money at $1.75 corn and $5.06 beans,” says Lindholm of the CCCloan prices.

A system with eyes

In the meantime, Lindholm and his loan officers are keeping watch over the ag portfolio. One big assistance is the way Farmers & Merchants sets up its loan relationships with farmers. A “note control” system for grain farming has been used for years by Lindholm and his father, Paul Lindholm, now of Security State Bank of Fergus Falls, Minn.

After harvest, an “inventory loan” is set up tied to the value of grain on hand that is to be marketed over a period of months and paid by July or August the following year. Any short-term debt that cannot be paid from the loan value of grain inventory becomes the “machinery note.” No payments are expected during the production year from this note, so its due date is set subsequent to harvest the following year. Finally, the “crop production” note, a closed-end line of credit, is set up for all of the borrower’s anticipated crop production needs.

Lindholm finds a number of advantages to this approach, but a key point is that it works hand in glove with the bank’s approach to funding farm loans, outlined earlier in this series: It always evaluates a farmer with the intent of banking all of his operation, not half of it. Thus the amount of operating credit granted in the closed-end line is based on the likely costs of the entire season. Hence, exposure is contained and a borrower would have to come to the bank should funds run short.

“So far, because of the way we evaluated the loans in the spring, we’ve seen nothing out of whack,” says Lindholm. Out of all of the bank’s farm loans, only one has caused unexpected trouble.

Ties that bind

The one problem case, while unusual, could be a bellwether. It involves a farmer whose son, also a farmer, but in different market, had been turned down for desperately needed credit. To help his son, the farmer used a big piece of his own operating line from Farmers & Merchants. Problem is, Lindholm’s staffers know what it costs to run a farm, and their projection was correct-so that the older farmer began to run short of operating cash and had to ‘fess up’ to the bank.

Lindholm’s experience tells him this may be the first of a line of such situations.

“Technically, what he did was fraud,” says Lindholm, but the banker is not inclined to demand his pound of flesh. “We will try to fix the problem,” he explains.

“When money gets tight,” he explains, “people do things that make sense to them at the time but may not be permitted under the loan documents and that put the bank at risk through exposures that the bank didn’t intend to take.”

Vital role of farming

June 13th, 2014

Agriculture plays a very crucial role in our economy. It is the main and leading source of currency for developing countries as well as employment opportunities are vastly in demand. Because of the rising world population year by year, it was reported that there is a crucial need for development of farming for efficient use of resources for farming use.

Vital role of farming

There are essential reasons why farming is important. First of all, it provides us food to eat; it helps in the promotion of biodiversity, reduction of farm pollution as well as toxic substances in the environment, better soil and good preservation of the culture of Agriculture, it plays a significant role to the International Trade, marketable surplus, foreign exchange resources, food security and great employment opportunities. Thus, most countries rely agricultural products as a main source of income.

Without farming, every person would be forced to hunt and gather their own food in order to survive. Nowadays, scarcity of food is possible as population increases. For that reason, individuals must learn that farming plays a vital role in our day to day living as it supplies our daily needs of family’s food intake everyday.

Farming before and after

Way back before, farming needs more than a hard work. Farmers are not yet equipped with knowledge and tools regarding new technologies when it comes to farming techniques. There are no available machines before, that is why farming task before was never an easy job.

In most countries today, farming was made easy by the use of different technologies. Farmer’s life is made easy in terms of mechanization, rural electrification, general upgrading of the technology and scientific methods, thus making farming less laborious at the same time living was made easy and enjoyable for farmers.

Technology at its best

With the aid of technology, many areas of the world have improved drastically. Through mechanization and system upgrading, there are a lot of farming tools that have had arises which are available at the market today depending upon its application. Hitachi and Dewalt are among the tool brand manufacturers that are well-known and trusted brands in the market today. And it varies based by its durability, weight, quality, prices and of use.

Tools like standard saw, best compound miter saw, and sliding compound miter saw are only few of the tools that are commonly used by the farmers of today’s modern world and are classified as safe and easy to use tools. For better tool suggestions you may visit http://thebestmitersaw.com for more information for better choices.

Vital role of farming

Conclusion

Farming plays a vital role in our lives. Thus it builds a role to the entire welfare or living of the society, providing our daily needs such as abundant food supply, fresh food and other necessities for people around the globe. These days, fresh foods are not easy to produce, that is why farming is essential and farmers do play a very important role.

With the evolution of inventors and the rising demand of the technology of the farming tools that are present in the marketplace today, the production output of every farmers where doubled as well as tripled as the capacity of the machine or system used increases relative to the amount of labour that is employed therefore, making farmers work load more easy, hassle free, timesaving and productive.

Never at a loss for ideas: a veteran freelancer shares an approach that has led him to multiple sales–not to mention an alligator farmer, a chicken catcher, and a renegade wild hog

June 10th, 2014

To get article ideas, you must have your mind right. First, don’t let your writing career depend only on what you know. Second, be a writer: Decide that you can write about any subject at any time, if you contact the right person to interview. Here are some tips and examples.

Don’t forget your daily gold mine. You’ll find your daily newspaper, especially the features section, a gold mine of freelancing ideas. If you live near a large city, every issue will have featurearticle ideas you can research and sell to magazines. To put dollars in your pocket, you write a marketable query, conduct your own interviews, and take your own photographs.

One morning, I read a newspaper article about an alligator farmer two hours away from my home in Alabama. I didn’t write for farming magazines but thought the idea had merit for some other markets. The article said the Alabama farmer had the second-largest alligator farm in the United States, and every year sold alligator hides to European tanneries. At that time, alligator boots cost about $400 a pair, an alligator wallet $400, and an alligator briefcase $3,000 to $4,500. You could see how an alligator farmer could earn a good living selling alligator hides. Well-written and full of facts and figures, the newspaper feature told readers that raising alligators required 2- to 3-acre ponds enclosed by 6-foot-high chain-link fences, and that this alligator farmer earned $80,000 to $100,000 per acre.

I took down the name and information and started querying farming magazines, including those emphasizing farmingequipment, rural lifestyles and specific crops. When I received a $1,500 assignment to write the article, I called the alligatorfarmer and asked if I could interview him and photograph his farm. The visit took less than a day.

farming magazines

I also sold some other versions of that article and reprints to smaller magazines for five times what I’d earned initially. Then the children’s channel Nickelodeon bought, for a fine price, some of my alligator photos for one-time use in its magazine.

On another morning, I read a story in our local newspaper about a commercial chicken farmer. The writer described how professional chicken catchers came in at night, caught the chickens, and put them in crates to be taken to the chicken processor.

I didn’t know any professional chicken catchers or understand what they did. I wrote some queries, however, and when I received the assignment, I called the chicken farmer and set a date to meet with him. During summer months, I learned, temperatures increase greatly in a chicken house. To stress the birds as little as possible, the catchers catch the chickens at night. Often, as many as 5,000 to 10,000 chickens live in one chicken house and, when confined, tend to pile up on top of each other and smother to death. For best efficiency, four men work in chicken-catching teams, including the stirrer, who forces the chickens to move around with a stick to keep them from smothering, and the catcher, who catches the chickens and carries their feet between his fingers, generally eight at a time.

I sold that article to farming, ranching, poultry, rural-lifestyle and general-interest magazines, making chicken catching one of my most profitable writing ventures ever.

Everyone is the world’s greatest something. To successfully sell a story about someone, determine what they’re the world’s best at doing. One day I asked my wife’s aunt, who loved to sew, “Aunt Jean, what are Fairy Pockets?”

“Fairy Pockets is the name of my sewing business,” she told me. “We make Tooth Fairy Pillows, clutch balls for babies, and all types of little hand-made children’s toys out of cloth–many like those used in colonial times.”

As I questioned her, I learned that her husband, an engineer, had built machinery for Aunt Jean that could cut out multiple patterns on large amounts of cloth at one time for her children’s toys. She farmed out the sewing to 20 to 30 ladies in her neighborhood who wanted to make extra money.

Her business caught on like wildfire. With some of her toys featured at a Smithsonian museum gift shop and distribution through many retail outlets, I realized that Aunt Jean was someone people would like to meet through an article and photos. She created handmade toys that didn’t exist anymore, used her entrepreneurship to enable other stay-at-home moms to sew the toys and make money, and had become a nationally distributed manufacturer. I queried and wrote the story of her business for a women’s magazine.

Another time I had assignments to write three fishing articles at Lake Seminole in Bainbridge, Ga. I spent two and a half days gathering information and shooting photos. With a half day left, I asked the lodge owner, Jack Wingate, a gentle man full of mischief, if he and I could go fishing for fun, since I had completed my work. While out fishing, I asked Wingate, “What’s the story on Ole Ripper?” The restaurant at Wingate’s Lodge had a huge mounted wild boar with long tusks and a sign in his mouth that said “Ole Ripper.”

Wingate smiled and told me, “Ole Ripper was a renegade wild hog that broke into pig parlors, set the sows free, and destroyed fences. People hunted him for about four years and never could catch up to him.”

As Wingate reminisced about Ole Ripper, I interrupted him and said, “Wait a minute, Jack. Start over, and let me turn on my tape recorder.” I was totally fascinated by the story Wingate, a master storyteller, told me.

Once I had the story, I called the editor of Outdoor Life, the largest magazine of its type. I told him I would send him one of the most exciting outdoor stories I’d ever heard. I explained I’d ghostwrite it for the teller of the tale.

I wrote the story and sent it to my editor on speculation, which I normally never do. He not only accepted the article but paid an artist to paint a picture that ran over two pages to help illustrate the piece. I cashed one of the best checks I’d ever earned for writing one article with no photos.

If you listen and question, you, too, can find great people to write about.

Maintain your personal ‘continuing-education program.’ I have an advantage as a writer because I’m an average Joe in middle-class America. I’m the guy you’ll meet on the street any time you go downtown anywhere. The things I don’t know, or the subjects I want to learn about, are probably shared by several million other interested people. To get one or 50 story ideas, I simply learn something new or interview someone who interests me.

Today, Tracy Byrd is a well-known country-music artist. But when he was a struggling singer, I discovered that he liked to hunt quail. I set up a quail hunt for us. During the course of the hunt, I took out my tape recorder and asked Byrd, “What do you have to do to be a successful country-western singer?”

Byrd answered, “You’ve got to sing in a lot of little-bitty bars all over the country, if you’ll ever sing on the big stage.” From that day with Byrd, I gleaned information for four magazine articles for the outdoors and country-music markets–and made a new friend.

Head to the bookstore. When I feel totally brain-dead, I pursue great story ideas by going to bookstores with my notebook and pen. I look at the type of articles various magazines run at specific times of the year–most will run similar articles the same month of the year, every year. In October, November and December, for instance, you’ll see holiday-related articles. I can then relate new story ideas to that same month the next year. If I spend two or three hours perusing all the magazines on the shelves, I often can discover 20 to 50 ideas in one afternoon.

One November I saw that several magazines on the stands included Christmas presents in their lineups. I queried some magazines for the next November on articles about what to buy outdoor youngsters for Christmas and sold the idea. Another time I noticed that women’s magazines and even People featured holiday meals. I queried and sold articles on a number of related topics, including how to incorporate wild game into Thanksgiving and Christmas menus, and how to have more fun on the Fourth of July by catching your own crappie and catfish that day.

Encounter a problem, solve it, write it. Make problems your new best friend. Every problem you or your acquaintances have is an opportunity to sell a story. Find a method for solving a problem and write up your insights and techniques to benefit others.

During a recession in the 1970s, I wanted to raise vegetables but lacked enough sun at my home. A nearby business, U.S. Steel, leased unused land for only $20 or so an acre for a year. Doing something my grandfather had done during the Great Depression, I leased five acres, marked off garden plots after having the land plowed, then asked each person who took a garden spot to return a third of what they grew to me. I wrote up the idea for Mother Earth News and a couple of alternative lifestyle magazines, too, while my family enjoyed a wide variety of fresh vegetables.

An inquisitive mind, a desire to learn, an awareness of where to find story ideas, and a belief that every person you meet is the world’s greatest something make not only for an interesting life, but a great career as a writer.

John E. Phillips

A full-time freelancer for 38 years, John E. Phillips, of Birmingham, Ala., has written more than 30 books. He also provides regular Internet content for eight companies and writes for about 40 different magazines each year.

Farm Tools for people

June 6th, 2014

Farming which is a part of agriculture is a way of keeping animals and growing crops for food. In this way, it helps feed many people and gives a nation a chance to grow economically. Poor countries usually utilize traditional way of farming while the rich nations use intensive agriculture. Over the years farming like other technologies also advances. Farmers from all over the world have developed their own way of growing their crops. From traditional agriculture, there are now many types of farming used for every kind of crops that farmers want to grow. There are Organic, Vertical, Mult-Crop, Green House and Polytunnel or Polyhouse farming.

Moreover, there are growing numbers of farmers who opt to do livestock farming. Livestock farming is breeding of animals for human use. Livestock animals primarily refer to chicken, cattle, pigs, goats, sheep and horses. But now, many farmers are also breeding mules, donkeys, insects and rabbits for their livestock farming. This kind of farming is very useful for famers because it does not only help them economically but it also supplies them food for a year.

Farm Tools

Farming is really a hard job to do. And to start farming, one should have the proper knowledge, the skills and tools. Agriculture requires many tools from large to small farms in order to raise their farm production. However, different kinds of farmers use different kinds of tools.

Some of the tools that can usually found in farming.

  • Plow or Plough-this farming equipment is used to break up land and kill surface vegetation.
  • Shovel-this equipment is primary used for moving the grains.
  • Harrow-it smoothen rough soils and secures even planting.
  • Pitchforks-this tool is used to move and pickup straw and hays.
  • Machetes-are tools with long sharp blades used for cutting.

 

Agricultural machineries for large farms

  • ractor-this vehicle is primary used for pulling other farming equipment and loading manure.
  • Harrows-this is used as secondary tillage and breaks up rough soil in order for plant to grow easily.
  • Seeders-this one is used for planting seeds in the ground. In Canada this vehicle is also used for spreading salt.
  • Fertilizer spreader-this farm vehicle is used for spreading out fertilizers.
  • Combine-this powerful vehicle is used for cutting plants mature grain.
  • Packing-this one is intended for packaging cereal straw or other forage grasses.

In addition rifle scopes and other optics were also being used in farm work today. During hunting season, farmers also go out to hunt. Use of these rifle scopes is very popular in American ranches and farms. Here are the top Nikon rifle scopes:

  • Nikon Porstaff 3-9×50 BDC Riflescope
  • Nikon Prostaff Riflescope 3-9×40 Nikoplex Reticle
  • Nikon Prostaff 3-9×40 BDC Riflescope
  • Nikon 3-9×40 Buckmasters BDC Riflescope
  • Nikon Monarch 3 5-20×44 Side Focus Nikoplex Riflescope
  • Nikon Monarch 3 3-12×42 Side Focus Nikolex Riflescope

Top AR 15 rifle scopes include:

  • UTG 3-9×32 Compact CQB Bug Buster AO RGB Scope with Med. Picatinny Rings, 2″ Sunshade
  • Burris 200463 MTAC 4.5-14 x 42 Scope (Black)
  • Leupold 113769 VX-R Patrol FireDot Illuminated Rifle Scope with Motion Sensor Technology
  • BARSKA 4×20 Electro Sight Scope M-16 Riflescope
  • Vortex® StrikeFire Red Dot Rifle Scope(Suitable for AR-15)
  • NcSTAR® 4×32 mm Mark III Illuminated Reticle Tactical Scope Weaver / Picatinny Mount
  • Burris 300210 AR-536 5×36 Sight (Black)
  • Weaver Tactical 1-5 x 24mm Illuminated Intermediate Range Scope
  • Nikon P-223 3×32 Matte BDC Carbine
  • EOTech 553.A65 Dual A.R.M.S. quick-release throw levers Holographic Sight (Black)
  • Weaver Tactical 1-5 x 24mm Illuminated Intermediate Range Scope

 

Farm Assessment Review – A brief overview on Canadian agriculture recently

May 30th, 2014

What are the requirements for developing agriculture of a nation? They might be area, climate, human, state policy or technical science. It can be said that Canadian agriculture is fully converged those factors. Therefore, not only meet the need of food inside the country, but Canada is also famous for exporting agriculture product all over the world. In this article, we will point out several achievements of this country over the past few years.

overview on Canadian agriculture

According to the report, “An Overview of the Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food System 2014,” Canadian export sales grew by 8.1% in 2012. With export sales of C$43.6 billion, Canada is the world’s fifth-largest exporter, accounting for 3.5% of the total value of world agriculture and agri-food exports. “Canada’s agriculture and food industry has evolved into a modern, technologically advanced, export-oriented sector that is among the elite performers in today’s highly competitive global marketplace,” said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz.

The main products

  • Canadian meat, which is taken from the most qualified animals, are favored in many countries around the world. The high standards of cattle health, nutrition systems, veterinary science is developing very well. The modern processing technology helps Canadian meat provide consumers with delicious meat products in both fresh and frozen form.
  • Fish and seafood make Canada become the most famous suppliers for some of the best products in the world. They determine to preserve their quality management, innovation and sustainable management of fisheries resources. Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean and the Arctic Ocean and many freshwater lakes, Canada exported more than 160 species of fish and seafood, the fresh, frozen, canned and smoked goods to over 130 countries world. These foods are suitable for baking and as a result there has been a device contributes to the process of finishing meat from Canada called electric smoker. However, not all these equipments are good, you need to read electric smoker reviews click here, And learn about buying guide at topelectricsmokers.com. It will help you smoke these fish and seafood more delicious.
  • Farms in Canada have produced and packaged more than 120 types of vegetables, fruit, flowers and ornamental plants. From the very common types such as potatoes, apples, tomatoes and livestock products grown in greenhouses to excellent native blueberries, cranberries. Not only meet the demands in North America, Canada also exports vegetables in the form of frozen or process them for restaurants. All of them are under delicious, nutritious. Other important product is Canadian honey and syrup.

Canada agricultural achievements

  • Canada is one of the world’s largest suppliers of agricultural products, particularly wheat and other grains.
  • Canada is a major exporter of agricultural products to the United States and also to Europe and East Asia.
  • Like all other developed countries: the proportion of the population working in the agricultural sector and the sector’s contribution to GDP has dropped significantly in the 20th century.

In conclusion, Canada’s agricultural products are highly qualified and trusted by the world. It is considered that agriculture plays an important part on the whole economy of this country, and its products have become well-known brands worldwide. We can say that Canadian is very wise to develop in this sustainable way. Canadian economy in general and its agriculture in particular really deserves a great lesson for developing and underdeveloped countries.

As development races through its neighbors, Ray Township struggles over maintaining its rural heritage

May 27th, 2014

Longtime Ray Township resident and farmer Joe Jarzyna owns 26 acres that he hopes will become the township’s first shopping center.

Ray Township officials are working with Jarzyna and Premiere Properties and Development L.L.C. of Grand Blanc, but officials have made it clear that they are not willing to approve anything resembling big-box retail, such as a Wal-Mart or Meijer, at the site.

Premiere has signed an agreement to buy Jarzyna’s property, but the purchase won’t occur until the township approves the plans.

“We picked (Premiere) because of their dedication, in our eyes, to putting forth a top-end development,” Jarzyna said. “If we are going to sell … we want something nice across the street from our farm.”

Jarzyna’s property at the northwest corner of 26 Mile and Romeo Plank and his 126-acre farm lie literally at the crossroads between the booming development in Macomb Township and the staunchly anti-development Ray Township.

Ray Township’s population grew to 3,740 from 3,230 between 1990 and 2000, according to U.S. Census figures, while neighboring Macomb Township’s population exploded to 50,478 from 22,714.

Ray Township

Jarzyna’s family has been paying taxes in Ray Township since 1938, but he said it is becoming more and more difficult for his family to make a living off of corn, soybeans, wheat and hay unless they take second jobs.

“The folks that are the biggest anti-development faction in the township are the people who came out here in the last 15 to 20 years,” Jarzyna said.

But while Jarzyna’s plans for the shopping center are likely to be approved, he said he can’t sell the remaining 126 acres of his farm because the land isn’t suitable for wells and septic tanks and there is no available water and sewer service in the township.

Jarzyna argues that Ray Township’s decades-old anti-development policies drive down the value of the township’s farmland.

“There are a lot of farmers in their 60s and this (land) is their retirement. And for them not to be able to get the full price of what their property is worth – and then to see prices across the street (in Macomb Township) at three times of what it is here – is frustrating,” he said.

Ray Township has stymied growth by blocking the extension or development of water and sewer systems and by requiring minimum lot sizes of 2.06 acres.

Macomb County Commissioner Nicholyn Brandenburg, who represented Ray Township residents for 10 years before the county redrew its districts, applauds the township’s efforts to preserve its land.

“It’s going to be the only green area left in Macomb County because of the wetlands and the different policies they have implemented,” she said.

Brandenburg said that the water and sewer systems that extend all the way to northern Macomb County from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department are overtaxed.

“The city water and the septic water lines we have right now don’t work. And if they did work, (Macomb County) wouldn’t have millions of gallons of sewage dumped into the Clinton River when it rains,” Brandenburg said.

Sewer services for Jarzyna’s retail development may come from an extension of the Garfield interceptor, a project that Ray, Washington and Armada townships are studying. A preliminary study done by Macomb County Public Works found that the extension would cost about $17 million.

The shopping center proposal prompted township officials to adopt an ordinance that allows the creation of a type of zoning called planned-unit development and agreed to change its master plan to allow for 26 acres of retail development rather than the 10 acres that planners had envisioned.

“Certainly we are trying to work through that so we can make it palatable to the people who live here,” Ray Township Supervisor Charlie Bohm said.

“In our master plan, we say we are interested in providing services for the township residents,” Bohm said. “And that’s fine. But we don’t want anything there like a Wal-Mart or a Meijer, or anything that would, you know, cause somebody driving home from work to Chesterfield (Township) to decide to re-route himself to come through here.”

Stephen Branoff, a partner in Premiere Properties, said his company is planning a village-style center with several stores and about 150,000 square feet of retail on Jarzyna’s 26-acre site and would like to anchor it with a local grocery store, such as Papa Joe’s.

Ray’s heritage, Bohm said, is as a rural farming community and its residents want to preserve that, but development pressure continues to escalate.

Ray wound up in a legal battle in Macomb County Circuit Court in 1999 after it tried to block proposals for two mobile-home parks. In one case, Washington Township-based Lombardo Cos., the developer, agreed to build single-family homes instead. Both cases resulted in consent judgments that require the township to provide water and sewer services.

Read more:

Jersey Cow of Canadian

Lessons of the Farm Bill

- Overview on Canadian agriculture recently

Still, Lombardo declines to criticize Ray Township.

“In Ray, they are just in the early stages of this development,” Lombardo said.

The court cases forced Ray to consider purchasing sewer capacity from plans to extend the Garfield interceptor, which currently ends at 21 Mile Road in Macomb Township.

The extension would take that sewer line north at least another six miles to Hayes Road and also would serve other townships.

In October, Ray’s board adopted a wetland and waterway preservation ordinance that was intended to give the township another tool to preserve land.

But that ordinance won’t go into effect until the township adopts a map that identifies each parcel affected, and Kathleen Bolton, former Ray deputy clerk who has worked for the ordinance’s passage for more than three years, now doubts that will happen.

Bolton and two other anti-development candidates for the township board were defeated in November by candidates who are more open to development.

Meanwhile, Washington Township Supervisor Gary Kirsh argues Ray’s 2-acre lot restrictions aren’t the best way to preserve land. Kirsh says that valuable land often is chewed up under 2-acre minimum lot sizes because no land is set aside for parks or schools.

Bohm acknowledges the logic in that argument, but said the 2-acre minimum is needed to ensure that a home owner has enough land both for a septic tank and a well.

Kirsh also says that it’s only a matter of time before Ray’s development barriers fall.

“Those philosophies are noble and nice,” Kirsh said. “Except, over time, they are going to be harder and harder to maintain.”

For now, Bohm isn’t backing down. He says he inherited a legacy of preservation and doesn’t want to be in the same position as Ray’s neighboring townships.

“The problem is those guys – they have a tiger by the tail. They couldn’t stop the development if they wanted to,” Bohm said. “We are still in a position where we can stop it. For how long? Well, we don’t know.”

Ray Township

Population: 3,849 (2004 estimate).

Household income: 41 percent earn between $75,000 and $150,000. $70,081 median.

Median home value: $187,000.

Number of farmers: 121.

Annual township budget: $1 million.

Source: Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, census data.

CAPTION(S):

Ray Township is considering a plan that would use 26 acres of Joe Jarzyna’s farm for the township’s first shopping center.

Lessons of the Farm Bill

May 14th, 2014

Lessons of the Farm BillBy now, it’s fairly obvious that the 112th Congress isn’t getting very much done, but it’s not just because Republicans control the House and Democrats control the Senate. Sometimes the two chambers approach problems so differently that you have to remind yourself that they are in the same building. A case in point: the legislation that the Senate calls the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act and what everyone else knows as the farm bill.

Read more:

America’s farm subsidies

MLC ads out to clean up image

Jersey Cow of Canadian 

In one corner is the “world’s most deliberative body,” where outsized egos sometimes collide to ensure that very little happens. That could have been the case in the Senate Agriculture Committee, where five members have chaired the panel at one time over the past few decades and another one is a former Agriculture secretary. For better or worse, it’s a group of people who know their stuff, and who know they know their stuff. In this case, the expertise helped grease the legislative skids.

For months, senators have been gloating about their bill’s relatively easy progress. First, they got the measure through the committee in a less-than-five-hour lovefest of a markup punctuated with kudos and thank-yous. Then, the legislation passed the full Senate on a bipartisan 65-34 vote. “The institutional knowledge on the committee was a big factor in the level of reform we were able to achieve,” said Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. “Having members on both sides who had a deep understanding of the issues meant our discussions were focused on creating better policy and more cost-effective programs, not on ideology.”

Of course, differences did emerge. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who, in addition to being the committee’s most senior member also spent eight years as chairman, noted that with so much experience, many members have their own ways of doing things. The Vermonter said that if 12 members wrote their own “perfect” bill, the result would be 12 different versions.

Still, Leahy said he can’t remember another time when everyone was so civil. “During the discussions, private or open, I don’t remember any political posturing,” he said. “I’m glad I’m in the Senate and not the House on this one.”

Ah, yes, the House. The House Agriculture Committee is nothing like its Senate counterpart. New members have multiplied like boll weevils with an insatiable appetite for cutting spending. Of the 26 Republicans on the panel, 16 are freshmen. For many of them, getting caught in the weeds won’t be a problem. They have the big picture in sight, and it’s all about the biggest single pot of money in the bill: the $80 billion food-stamp program, which serves one in seven Americans.

Farm BillHouse Agriculture Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., is the first to admit that being surrounded by freshmen and new committee members makes his life harder.”Not everyone on the committee understands the history of farm bills, which have never been partisan by nature,” he said. “Getting them to understand the culture is a process.”

Getting them to keep quiet can also be a process. Their Senate counterparts may have breezed through their markup, but the House panel spent more than an hour debating the very first amendment, involving dairy producers, during the panel’s marathon markup this week. “We only have 99 amendments to go,” Lucas said to laughter.

Normally, the biggest issues in farm bills are regional, not ideological. And this time around–namely, how to insure crops–that remains true. But with about 80 percent of the legislation’s funding targeted to nutrition programs, there’s a big opportunity for fiscal conservatives to make a statement. The House’s draft legislation cut about $16 billion over 10 years from the food-stamp program, but that’s not nearly enough for the most ardently conservative Republican members.

“The president can’t have it both ways,” said freshman Rep. Reid Ribble of Colorado. “He can’t brag about all the people who have found employment since he took office, and also demand that food stamps go up.”

Trying to better align food-stamp funding with what Republicans have previously offered (for sequestration and in their budget), Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas offered an amendment that would cut another $33 billion from the program. No one thinks that such a provision could make it past the Senate and to the president’s desk, but Huelskamp doesn’t really care, and he isn’t even worried about upsetting his own committee leaders. “Look, the Republican chairman would not be the chairman if it weren’t for all of us new members on the committee,” he said. For Lucas to be upset with his freshmen would, in other words, be akin to looking a gift horse in the mouth. (In the end, Huelskamp’s amendment didn’t even make it out of committee.)

It’s a way of legislating that seems awfully familiar now. A tactic summed up earlier this year by freshman Rep. Raul Labrador, a Republican from Idaho. “Why don’t we pass the most conservative piece of legislation we can in the House?” he said at a press conference. “Instead, we are always passing legislation we know was tacitly approved by Harry Reid.”

Democrats in the House may hate the process, but not all of them seem particularly concerned about what the outcome will be. Ranking member Collin Peterson of Minnesota said that this is just another example of the GOP’s freshman class letting its ideology get in the way of practicality. “If they aren’t satisfied with this, wait till it gets out of conference,” he said with a wry smile.

MLC ads out to clean up image

May 13th, 2014

The Meat and Livestock Commission is to launch a new umbrella ad strategy in the spring following last week’s appointment of BMP DDB Needham as its agency.

Meat and Livestock Commission

The MLC hopes that the new strategy, combined with a substantially increased budget of |pounds~10m, will change the unfashionable image of meat and halt the decline in meat consumption.

“This new strategy is key to the future development of the meat industry,” says Gwyn Howells, MLC’s marketing director. “Changes in consumer habits and lifestyles mean we must present our products in a new relevant and motivating manner.”

Previous work for the MLC by DMB&B and Laing Henry had comprised three individual campaigns for beef, lamb and pork plus a generic campaign “Meat to live”.

The new work by BMP develops an overall concept for the three species that can be individually slotted into the campaign.

BMP won the |pounds~10m account after a nine-month pitch against a list of agencies believed to include the incumbent, J. Walter Thompson, and Simons Palmer Denton Clemmow and Johnson.

The long delay in making the appointment occurred because each meat has its own promotional budget and had to be convinced of the merits of a collective approach.

The MLC chose BMP partly because it was impressed by BMP’s award-winning campaign for the Milk Marketing Board through which it successfully and profitably slowed down the decline in high-margin milk deliveries.

But that campaign was based on altering a small piece of behaviour by a clearly defined target group. The new campaign is aimed at changing the general attitudes of all consumers.

Nonetheless, BMP is confident that its new approach will work. “All meats share the same problem; the perception of meat lags behind the reality of its use,” says a BMP spokesman.

“Although people think it is under attack from the health lobby, in fact there is a lot of positive news about meat and we want to reinforce the positives,” he says.

The new work is based on the premise that deeply-held convictions — in this case about the healthiness of meat and its role in diet — can be changed byadvertising.

“We have done it before and we can it do it again. The only danger is when you are flying in the face of an incontrovertible trend and this isn’t one of them,” says the spokesman.

The market for meat has changed in the past two decades because of the breakdown in formal meal patterns, smaller household sizes and increase in low-fat diets.

The MLC has tried to cope with the problems by product development. Meat now comes in new cuts and many pre-cooked forms.

The MLC argues that meat consumption has remained steady at 64kg per year per person since the 50s.

However, a new report on the meat and poultry industry published this week by Euromonitor says that the market declined by 200,000 tonnes last year, the biggest decline since 1988. It says that currently four out of ten people are cutting down on their meat intake with health and ethics being cited as the main reasons.

Meat sales in 1989 and 1992

Beef

* 1992: 443,000 tonnes; |pounds~2009m.

* 1989: 506,000 tonnes; |pounds~2215m.

Pork

* 1992: 223,000 tonnes; |pounds~724m.

* 1989: 263,000 tonnes; |pounds~830m.

Lamb

* 1992: 204,000 tonnes; |pounds~673m.

* 1989: 251,000 tonnes; |pounds~815m.

Source: Euromonitor

Abstract: 

The UK Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC) hopes to reverse declining meat sales and change meat’s image with a new advertising strategy. A major component of that strategy is MLC’s hiring of BMP DDB Needham as its new agency. The MLC picked BMP partly because of BMP’s successful advertising campaign for the Milk Marketing Board. BMP said its approach for meat advertising will focus on the positive health aspects of meat consumption.

The trough: America’s farm subsidies

May 13th, 2014

You thought it was only Europe’s farmers who had their snouts inacdonald over the past decade

America's farm subsidies

The present programme for readjusting productive acreage to market requirements”, intoned the secretary for agriculture, “is admittedly but a temporary method of dealing with an emergency.” The emergency was the indignity that American farmers, the most competitive on earth, had to live with selling at world-market prices.

The federal government’s plan was to organise scarcity. It ordered farmers–for their own and the nation’s good, you understand–to tear up 10m acres of cotton and to stick 6m pigs. In return, it guaranteed them far better than prevailing world prices for their produce. At a stroke, it wrecked America’s export markets, saddled the taxpayer with vast farm surpluses and turned farmers into chronic wards of state. That was in 1933, the year of the Agricultural Adjustment Act. One of this American century’s most astonishing and dispiriting features is that Roosevelt’s New Deal farm programmes are essentially still in place.

The history of the American government’s involvement in agriculture has been one of a long fight against the secular decline in the real price of food. This decline is as inevitable as it is welcome: it tells of ever-rising farm productivity. Since the second world war, output per hour of farm work in America has risen ninefold, thanks to better machinery, management, fertilisers and crops. Three decades ago just over 20m cows produced 125 billion pounds (57m tonnes) of milk a year; today 10m cows produce 150 billion pounds. Wheat and milk yields are climbing by 2.5% a year.

By any measure, including its own, the American government’s resistance to higher farm productivity and falling food prices has failed. Roosevelt’s intervention was justified by the claim that farmers were the engine of American prosperity and deserved income support to stay in farming. Yet thefarm population has fallen from 30m in the early 1930s to under 5m today. Roosevelt’s own acreage-reduction plans threw hundreds of thousands out of work, mostly poor tenant farmers. Income support being linked to the quantity of farm output rather than to financial need, it was the biggest and richest who reaped most of the benefits.

The same holds true today. Whenever politicians and farm lobbyists talk of the farmers’ plight, they hold up for pity the 2.2m farms recorded (for 1982) by the Department of Agriculture (USDA). This is disingenuous. The USDA counts as a farmer anyone who sells more than $1,000 of farm goods in any year. Around 1.6m of the smallest “farmers”, those with gross sales between $1,000 and $40,000, make less than $200 in profits each year–if they do not actually lose money. “Obviously,” writes James Bovard, in “Farm Fiasco”, an excellent book upon which this article draws, “these folks are not in it for the money.”

Even for most of the 286,000 farms that had annual sales, during the 1980s, of $40,000-100,000, farming is not the household’s principal activity. That is not surprising. These farms are small, usually under 200 acres, and–admittedly, an extreme case–it takes only three hours of labour to plant and harvest an acre of corn. Average annual farm income for this group during the 1980s was $8,100, subsidies included; off-farm income was $11,200.

The number of farmers who got federal farm handouts in 1985 was a mere 363,000. The top 1% of producers, according to the Office of TechnologyAssessment, get 30% of all farm subsidies, about as much as the bottom 80%. Something like 300,000 farmers enjoy a net worth of more than $1m. Thus the vast edifice of farm subsidies exists mainly for the benefit of millionaires (many of whom get lavishly subsidised water too). Some 108,000 bureaucrats at the USDA–one for every three recipients–are employed to dole the subsidies out.

A land of milk, honey-and mohair

It is a fundamental tenet of American agricultural policy that farmers deserve more for their wheat, corn or what have you than the free market can offer. The government rewards this virtue by setting a target price for a given commodity. It then pays the difference (a “deficiency payment”) between (a) the target price and (b) the (lower) market price or–whichever of the two is higher–the “loan rate”.

This “loan rate” (not all commodities have one) is a support price, normally, for obvious reasons, lower still than the market price. This offers a safety net. The farmer can take a “loan” from the Commodity Credit Corporation at this price for his crop. He either repays later or defaults, letting his collateral–the crop–duly pass to the government. Another refinement of the system pays farmers to keep “reserves” in their own hands. Whatever the details, in plain language, America practises price subsidy and support buying, much as the EC does, though at lower levels.

Guaranteed deficiency payments encourage farmers to produce with abandon. So once government has meddled with price controls, it is then inevitably tempted to play with supply controls. Presto, another farm product is annexed by government fiat. Below are listed–in decreasing order of light-heartedness–some of the state’s intrusions into farming.

Peanuts. In a normal year, the government allows Americans to consume two foreign peanuts per citizen. Further, they must pay twice as much for American nuts in America as they would pay for the same American nuts abroad.

The USDA’s tight control of the peanut industry dates back half a century. During the 1930s, peanut farmers reacted to Congress’s generous promise to support their prices by dumping huge surpluses on the government. By 1941 the government had had enough. Rather than stop supporting prices, however, it imposed controls on production. Only those acres that had grown peanuts in the past were licensed to grow them in future. Meanwhile, imports were almost wholly banned. A licence made a Croesus of its owner or his offspring–ask Jimmy Carter. Today’s 44,000 licensed peanut growers earn returns four to ten times higher than they would from other crops.

Because the government still offered generous price supports, which in turn discouraged consumers from buying nuts, surpluses continued into the 1970s. The congressional response, in 1977, was a tighter grip over the industry. Instead of restricting the number of acres a farmer could harvest, it now restricted the amount of peanuts that could be produced for domestic consumption. This artificial shortage passed the cost of pleasing the peanut cartel from the taxpayer to the consumer.

Peanuts deplete soil nutrients faster than do most crops, so peanut yields have been declining for years. Other, unprotected farmers are now graciously allowed to plant peanuts, but for export only. Strangely, while the government finds it necessary to start subsidising licensed growers if the price falls to $675 per American ton ($745 per tonne), exporters cheerfully sell their nuts for half that, or less.

Last year falling yields were exacerbated by drought and a peanut disease. America, to Congress’s embarrassment, ran out of peanuts. The strict import controls had to be lifted–but only temporarily.

Honey. During the second world war, bee-keepers raised production of honey, to compensate for a shortage of sugar. The war’s end therefore meant a temporary glut of honey, and falling prices. In 1949 Congress voted to make the glut permanent, by putting a floor under honey prices. It is still in place. Taxpayers paid bee-keepers $100m in 1988, to ensure that they got prices 50% above the world market’s; the past five years’ average is $56m. The subsidies go to fewer than a tenth of the country’s bee-keepers.

Congress has been less artful drafting legislation for honey than for peanuts, for there are few import restrictions on foreign supplies. In some years as much honey comes in from abroad as is subsidised by the taxpayer. The omnibus Farm Act of 1990 warns the honey programme’s participants against claiming foreign-bought honey as their own. The temptation is large: though there is a ceiling on the subsidy per bee-keeper, this year it is set at $175,000.

Mohair. The 1954 National Wool Act declared mohair, from the effete Angora goat, to be of strategic national interest. This, apparently, because mohair imparted a softness of feel to military uniforms for which foreigners or the free market could not be relied on. The taxpayer now routinely pays out more in mohair subsidies than the value of mohair clipped.

That is in addition to the $500m paid in subsidies to American sheep farmers during the five-year duration of the 1985 Farm Act (American agriculture, like that of the sometime Soviet Union, seems to like five-year plans). This is for wool that some American textile factories will not accept, so poor is its quality compared with that of foreign wool.

Milk. The power of America’s dairy farmers is not unrelated to their munificent financial contributions to Congress. The New Deal left the United States divided into 44 milk-producing regions. Each of those regions has a local co-operative with monopoly control of the local market (rarely, more than one, in a cartel) through a maze of milk-marketing orders. Some of this apparatus may have been needed to ensure supply, in the days when transport was poor and refrigeration difficult. Today, it is a licence to mulct the consumer. And, by law, agricultural monopolies do not risk antitrust suits.

As well as acquiring local monopolies, dairy farmers have tankfuls of federal support. Support prices for milk, butter and cheese are up to three times those on world markets. Imports of powdered milk or butter are limited to less than 1% of American consumption, those of cheese to less than 4%. (The price of American cheese shocks even the hardened European.) Milk reconstituted from American milk powder, which these days is hard to tell from fresh milk, may not be sold for less than the price of fresh milk. That would discriminate against inefficient farmers in the region, to the benefit of more efficient ones elsewhere.

By the mid-1980s, high support prices had spurred wanton production. The government was floundering in surpluses of butter and powdered milk. These had to be unloaded on other countries, with the help of huge export subsidies. So in 1986 the government announced it would pay dairy farmers to kill 1.6m cattle. Beef raisers, relatively guiltless–they are to some degree protected, but not lavishly subsidised–were hard hit, as cattle prices naturally collapsed.

Dairy farmers are still swimming against the tide of their own productivity. Surpluses are rising again, straining government support prices. And coddling the farmers does not come cheap. Even the USDA estimates the costs of the dairy programme, between taxpayers and consumers, at $10 billion-12 billion a year. The farmers are now lobbying for strict production limits; in effect, a producer cartel.

Sugar. America’s sugar policy does little good for the industry it is supposed to benefit. Yet it causes plenty of pain to domestic consumers and foreign producers. The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics–Australia also produces the stuff–estimates that transferring each $1 to American sugar producers costs the consumer $2.60 and the whole American economy 70 cents.

The United States has protected its sugar growers since the late 18th century, even though there are better growing climates, especially for cane. In the 1970s, high world prices lessened the need for that protection, and by the end of the decade America was the world’s largest sugar importer, bringing in a quarter of its needs. Not for long. Prices fell. So in 1981 the American government slapped quotas on imported sugar, as a prelude to a sharp increase in domestic support prices. By 1989 those import quotas had been cut by more than half.

For most of the 1980s, domestic producers were paid three times the world market price. Beet-sugar production rose between 1984 and 1987 by 38%. Meanwhile, American sugar consumption fell, as alternative sweeteners caught on, partly for health reasons, partly in response to the cost of sugar. These were and are high-priced themselves, but still have cut sugar’s share of the American sweetener market by half, to around 40%, in the past 20 years. Others too have suffered. The world’s cane-growers, mostly in poor countries, have lost a market, and seen prices slide elsewhere. And in America’s south, which not long ago had a thriving refining industry, drawing its raw material from the Caribbean, nine out of 23 refineries have now shut.

Closing America’s borders to foreign sugar supplies may have depressed world market prices by up to a third during the 1980s. Also, changes in the 1985 Farm Act led to falls in the price of American grain. This led more farmers to plant beet, which depressed world sugar prices, some estimates say, by a further 9% in 1988.

Every year Carla Hills, the American trade representative best known to Europeans for berating their farm subsidies, stands at America’s back door and hands out strictly limited sugar-import quotas to some of the world’s poorest nations. No thanks for that. America’s sugar policies impose an annual net cost of $300m-500m on the world economy, $110m on the Caribbean countries alone.

First build the mountain, then sell it

The strangest case of all is that of grains. A mere 135,000 wheat, corn and rice (and cotton) farmers get two-thirds of all America’s federal farmpayments. In structure, these programmes are all much alike.

America's sugar policy

Ever since 1933 agricultural bureaucrats have had a hard time accepting that government price supports act, in effect, as an export tax upon farmers. Yet this was once again proven in the early 1980s, when “loan rates” were so high that producers were fools if they did not forfeit their crops to the government. America’s wheat exports, as a percentage of world exports, collapsed from 45% to less than 30%. The government sat atop high surpluses of grain.

Many of the same bureaucrats have now got export religion, but mainly in the mercantilist sense that exports are good at any cost. In order to enhance agricultural “competitiveness”, export subsidies have been granted to help Americans win back foreign markets. Last year these cost taxpayers over $900m, most of it for wheat. Taxpayers were not the only ones who paid. One result of America’s grain export drive has been to hurt Latin American growers, who therefore switched to soya beans. So American soya growers suffered.

This new zeal for exports stemmed from an embarrassing volume of farm surpluses. Another attempt to do away with the surpluses, raise prices and thus save farm jobs has been to set aside productive land. By 1988, 40m acres of farmland were idle. Only 8.5m are now, thanks to the 1988-89 drought and to vigorous efforts to get rid of surpluses on world markets. A cut in acreage does not translate into a proportionate cut in production. Any sensible farmer sets aside his least productive land first; leaving it fallow renders it more productive later. And farmers who choose not to join federal programmes can always plant more grain. Further, setting land aside automatically raises the farmer’s unit costs of production, so wiping out some of the advantages of subsidy.

Washington’s Soviet planners are now at least permitting farmers to make economic use of their set-aside land–but not in a way that does much for economic efficiency. The 1990 farm bill made provision for other crops to be planted on idle land–but without stripping the farmers of their right to deficiency payments (the basis for calculating the subsidy due) for the original, now unplanted, crop. This flexibility allowed farmers, in the jargon, to be more “market-oriented”. Yet the federal government still determines just which other crops may be planted. And often other government programmes help determine these alternative crops’ prices. Overall, the use of resources is still distorted.

America’s various measures to get rid of surpluses or restrain output have had their effect. Thanks to a generally firm market, the level of surplus stocks has shrunk sharply over the past couple of years. But these are palliatives. America’s farmers–particularly its growers of wheat and corn–are the world’s most efficient. The true answer for them is free trade. Ending world farm supports could raise the world price of wheat, for example, by a quarter. That would benefit American growers mightily.

America too. A 1988 study from Purdue University looked at the real cost of America’s farm subsidies. In 1987 dollars, it estimated, per farm job saved the American economy paid $107,000 in lost non-farm output, $80,000 in federal expenditures, and $14,000 in higher food costs. Were the United States unilaterally to liberalise its farm trade, annual national income, by this estimate, would be $14 billion higher. Even the direct provision of the same income support that farmers currently get would cost, on this estimate, $5 billion a year, compared with annual taxpayer subsidies that run between $10 billion and $20 billion (and a total, including the higher prices paid by consumers, that the OECD estimates at around $35 billion). Such figures are broad, at best; they depend on umpteen assumptions. But they indicate what America could gain, if it acted on its own.

In practice, America’s farm trade will not be freed unless the world’s is. And the grain farmers, who would gain most from that, no longer have as much incentive to press for it as they did. The 1990 Farm Act stipulates, among other things, that if GATT’s trade-freeing Uruguay round is not signed by June 30th this year, export subsidies must be increased by $1 billion in 1994 and 1995. Still more in the trough.