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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Agriculture Exempt from Anti-Government, Anti-Bailout Sentiment?

Dr. Newquist sees growing discontent and resentment directed toward one of the biggest ongoing bailout recipients in the country: agriculture. He notes that the ag lobby's resistance to the climate-change bill (exemplified by Stephanie Herseth Sandlin's no vote last week). With Senator Thune pushing a bill to get the federal government out of corporate America, Newquist wonders how long Big Ag can maintain its special status as an industry where the free market does not rule.

Some related notes:
  • Pork for pork: With exports and prices dwindling, the ag lobby in Minnesota and Iowa (#1 and #3, respectively, in pork production) is USDA to buy $50 million more in pork products for government programs. Pork producers say swine flu has taken a bite out of their sales, though the entire pork industry has apparently seen losses for 21 straight months. (How can people not be buying bacon?) Will there be any backlash to this bailout? Somehow I don't see John Thune campaigning against this particular pork proposal.
  • A commenter at that Sioux Falls paper sees ag's continuing ability to deflect attention from the truth in South Dakota. Responding to Thom Gabrukiewicz's report on water conflicts at Lake Poinsett and Enemy Swim, the pseudonymous commenter notes that the article mostly ignores the fact that agriculture is "the biggest threat to water quality in most lakes in those areas." The commenter accuses the local press of failing to be "honest or direct" about agriculture.

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