Home > American Agriculture, Federal Government, State Government > Balanced Budget: Direct Payments and Education

Balanced Budget: Direct Payments and Education

I previously had a post on my thoughts on the Farm Bill. Since then, I have put together some more thoughts on Federal programs, regulations and the deficit. For those who know me, I do not like to “beat around the bush” and so I plan on sharing a couple of posts in very frank and simple terms on issues that politicians have made very complicated. The House, Senate and President have wasted enough time talking and I am offering some straight forward recommendations in less than 2000 pages.

The Federal government spends more than it takes in and wastes much of what it does spend. If the Federal government does not balance the budget, reduce the deficit and onerous regulatory burden on business, our country is in serious trouble.  All entitlements, programs and departments must be “put on the table” and either undergo serious reform or be eliminated, to truly reduce the debt, balance the budget and return our country to one that promotes initiative, business and private sector job growth.

Farm Bill

1. Phase out all direct payments and subsidies for crops as well as credits for manufacturing and blending of ethanol over three years.

2. Reform crop insurance so that all crops can be insured and should losses occur, payments should allow for recovery of actual input costs from planting to harvesting, not percentages of potentially realized yields and regional market prices.

3. Farm loan program should remain intact, especially with the difficulty of securing loans from banks in the current economic environment.

4. Disaster programs should remain in place, however, payments need to be based on relevant regional data, recognizing growing days and soil productivity, requiring a reassessment of regional boundaries.

5. Predation payments that are a result of loss from predators protected by the government should be at full market value, not a percentage.

6. Programs that encourage conservation, water efficiency and erosion control should be continued.

7. Conservation easements on land that cannot be farmed due to government regulation should continue.

8. Conservation easements on land that can be farmed should be discontinued.

9. Programs to improve water efficiency should only be available to producers that are actually irrigating. Producers that have and are utilizing programs to install irrigation on land that has never been irrigated should not be eligible.

10. Programs to assist producers with erosion sensitive land should be continued. However, once the land has been stabilized and best management practices are in place, payments should stop.

11. Eligibility of producers to utilize programs need to be based on annual net income, not gross.

12. The ability of low-income families to purchase non-food items with the Food Stamp program must cease.

13. Meals provided at schools must be healthy and nutritious and include all of the food groups. Balance is essential.

14. In order to qualify for government funding, schools must require that their students take a physical exercise class each year and also have nutrition and health courses be part of the graduation requirement.


1. Eliminate the US Department of Education. Return full responsibility to the states and local school boards.

2. Take 30% of saved expenditure and distribute to states through a formula based on number of students in public schools per state, to be used directly at the school site level, not the state level.

Stay tuned for next segment: Energy and Social Security.

  1. March 18, 2011 at 1:37 PM

    All of that sounds great Jeff. I can think of a few more.
    1) No bill can contain more than two pages, or two thousand words.
    2) No more than two four year terms as an elected official
    3) People with law degrees cannot legislate (mainly because they could not adhere to #1)

    • commonsenseagriculture
      March 18, 2011 at 9:34 PM

      We are in full agreement Bob 🙂 Can’t wait for your response to my next few posts…

  2. Elizabeth niederer
    March 18, 2011 at 2:56 PM

    Hear hear! Yes, ag producers need a cushion for catastrophes and bad seasons. Last I checked, that’s called insurance, as you’ve pointed out.

    • commonsenseagriculture
      March 18, 2011 at 9:35 PM

      Appreciate your commenting Elizabeth. Thank you for stopping by.

  3. mike haley
    March 18, 2011 at 7:52 PM


    You are lucky I am at a cattle sale and don’t have access to a computer, I think we may go rounds onthis subject 😉
    Until next time,

    • commonsenseagriculture
      March 18, 2011 at 9:36 PM

      I eagerly await your response Mike 😉 Hope the sale went well.

      • March 21, 2011 at 8:34 AM

        Point #1 – I am with you on direct payments and subsidies but Our country is dependent on foreign oil. While corn may not be the best answer to wean ourselves off the middle east the government needs to continue to provide incentives to find new ways to produce our own renewable fuels. With luck our country will someday be able to grow our own food and fuel

        Point 2 – My family relies on income off the farm. Crop insurance allows me to sleep at night. Only allowing me to insure my input costs would result in an overload of stress and an early death.

        Jumping to point #5 – If you want to take away incentives for crop insurance on #2 then payment on predation should only account for your actual input costs for that animal.

        Point #4 I agree totally, I would also like to add that when a disaster occurs farmers have to wait 2 years for a payment. Payments need to be sped up so they can actually help a farmer when he has a disaster instead of waiting until he has declared bankruptcy

        Point #9 – You dont want your neighbor to have irrigation? If he chooses to irrigate his fields he would be at a disadvantage because you are getting incentives and he is not. Give it to all or none.

        I would also add that the paperwork required for several of the programs is ridiculous. Last fall I was informed that I did not qualify for the disaster payment from 2008 wheat crop because a couple acres (less than 1% of my crop) was not reported correctly. I want to farm, not push a pencil all day.

        I agree on the rest of your points. Lets try to encourage law makers to establish a program that benefits farmers of all types and sizes. Looking for handouts is foolish, we just need some security so we can sleep at night.

  4. monty
    March 20, 2011 at 2:33 PM

    My experience with crop insurance is that its not worth the paper it’s written on they can always find a reason to not pay and without government subsidies the premiums are not anywhere near affordable. Also EQUIP is only available on land that is irrigated at least 3 of last 5 years not land that has never been irrigated. I’m all for eliminating subsidies as soon as other countries stop manipulating their currency to make their product cheaper and when brazil has the same labor costs and environmental regs that i do on my farm. I do fully support your predator payments being market value i don’t recieve these but i believe there are already so few of us in agriculture we need to support all farmers and ranchers not just the area we are in.

  5. March 20, 2011 at 5:05 PM

    I why we are importing food to begin with. Why is it the only lamb I’ve seen on supermarket shelves for years…decades, is from New Zeland. The only garlic we can get in this town is from China. Frozen seafood, most of it is from china as well. Produce from Mexico. Can’t we raise lamb in this country? Don’t China and Mexico have a poverty problem with people in their own countries going hungry?

    The “free trade” agreements need to be scrapped. All any of them are doing is exploiting people in other countries for manufacturing then sell the product here for the same amount they would for American Labor. A prime example is auto manufacturers. The wages they pay to line worker start out at $2.50 an hour and go all the way up to a whopping $10 an hour for line supervisors.

    Congress is where all of this starts, and Congress is where it needs to get reversed. Until then the trade deficit will keep growing along with the national debt.

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