From Washington with Karina Jones – For their own interests in Farm Bill fight

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From Washington with Karina Jones - For their own interests in Farm Bill fight

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Karina Jones is a real-life ranch wife in the Nebraska Sandhills, Field Director for R-CalfUSA and one of the most highly sought-after speakers in the cattle industry nationwide!

And now the NEW VOICE of Farm & Ranch Country, Karina Jones –

Hello, everyone, out there in farm and ranch country.

The only gears grinding harder than the wheels turning on the planting equipment in America’s heartland are the gears of Big Ag’s lobbying groups battling for their own interests in Farm Bill fight.

While DC is embroiled in this debt ceiling debacle you can bet there continues to be a full schedule of Farm Bill hearings, meetings, and backrooms deals in the nation’s capital. When you really press your ear to what is going on, it really makes me scratch my head and wonder is anyone fighting for you and me and rural America?

As Luke Goldstein explained in his latest article, “How Washington Bargained Away Rural America,”

The real function of the modern farm bill is to deliver windfalls to industry by subsidizing cheap commodity grains, mostly corn and soybeans used for animal feed, that sell below the cost of production to agribusiness, fast-food chains, and global exports. Oil and gas companies are also major beneficiaries of subsidized corn production, used in ethanol and biofuel. And the structure of the subsidies tilts the playing field in favor of the biggest factory farms and middlemen monopolists.

Low commodity prices drive down incomes for family farmers who actually put in the labor to produce the nation’s food. The government steps in to keep farmers on just enough life support so that they can continue serving their overlords in agribusiness. Subsidy payments are primarily available for grain commodities like corn, soybeans, and wheat, which drives farmers toward a monocrop culture. Those who raise animals for meat products, though, don’t get covered by the payments, and instead are left to fend for themselves against dominant middlemen.

This economic arrangement, which many of today’s farmers call a new form of serfdom.

In the meantime, Big Ag lobbying groups are pressing back against measures that would create more competition in ag commodity markets and restrict further corporate consolidation. Recipients of multi-million dollar commodity checkoff deals are spitting nails over the fact that ag producers are wanting to take control back of their commodity programs and put the money back in to the hands of researchers and marketers, hence trying to capture some value to the commodity tax they are forced to pay, while receiving so little transparency as to how their money is spent. The USDA and these commodity boards have spent a lot of energy and ink trying to pacify producers that the checkoff belongs to the producers, but decades of being forced to pay these mandatory taxes and one can certainly can say, “nope, once I write the check it most definitely does not feel like it belongs to me anymore.” Furthermore, it doesn’t feel like the Farm Bill belongs to rural America anymore.

I’ll be right back here next week bringing you ag news from our nation’s capital.

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Karina ranches with her husband, Marty, and 4 children near Broken Bow, NE. She grew up in western NE, with roots also in southwest SD. The cattle industry and raising kids is her passion.

Tune in Fridays on The Hot Barn Report, where she deep dives into cattle industry issues and highlights industry reforms or listen to Ranch Raised with Karina Jones a slice of daily life on the Jones Ranch.

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