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Crop insurance subsidy? Ridiculous

By Staff | Dec 26, 2014

To the editor,

In Alan Guebert’s (Dec. 19) column, “Insuring elephants,” he presents some pretty incredible facts including 21 percent of taxpayer’s subsidies of federal crop insurance is in administrative costs, and 26 operations received a million dollars each in tax money.

His conclusion, agreeing with the Land Stewardship Project, is that our tax money is inequitably distributed.

His goals and the goals of the Project are to support the “long term stewardship of our nation’s farmland, family farmers and rural communities.”

I agree with Guebert. These numbers are appalling. And I won’t defend them on scale, but these are tiny amounts compared to all the other aid, wars, and subsidies doled out by our government in a vain attempt to engineer a perfect world.

Just what is the purpose of taxpayer subsidized crop insurance? It would appear from Guebert’s numbers, it is a way to circumvent any ceilings that might be imposed on federal handouts because of envy of rich and prosperous farmers.

And in shooting for the utopian ideal Guebert seeks, should we classify a family farmer as 20 acres or 20,000? Either one could be owned and entirely run by a family.

In my mind, any tillage at all shows lack of stewardship of the nation’s farmland. (As if a nation can own farmland. History buffs might recall the idea of collectively owned land died with the failure of the Soviet Union.)

Should tillage be illegal in the name of stewardship? Or how about subsidizing no-till to such a degree even these people who chisel plow bean stubble would spend the long fall nights with their families instead of in tractors?

If all this sounds ridiculous, it is; because it’s as ridiculous as subsidized crop insurance itself.

Crop insurance is a good idea only if financed exclusively by the insureds themselves.

That is the only way to run a sustainable safety net. And it is the only fair and efficient way to run any insurance.

Without government in farming, the land will still be farmed and the reduced administrative costs will be reflected in higher profits and lower food costs.

How to wean farmers from this government hand out addiction is the tough part, but we should never keep doing the wrong thing just because it hurts a little to set it straight.

-Fritz Groszkruger


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