Cuts may cause farmers big financial drought

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 10, 2005

Many Ohio farmers feel that President Bush's budget cuts would put them out to pasture - and they may be right.

Approximately 100 state farmers made the trip to Washington, D.C. this week to plant the seeds of opposition.

The president's plan includes a 5-percent reduction in farm subsidies, a $250,000 cap on payments to individual farmers and reduces funding for agricultural research at some schools.

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Overall, the plan would cut farm spending by $5.7 billion and renege on promises made in the farm bill that does not expire until 2007.

While we understand that tough financial times call for tough decisions, these changes would hurt southern Ohio and much of rural America's heartland where farming has always been the lifeblood.

We urge the administration and the Congress to rethink this course of action. It is hard enough for farmers to survive today in the ever-industrialized world that we live.

During the election, outsourcing was the buzzword, with the president vowing to fight against the practice and to help businesses that do not.

Well, what exactly would these cuts accomplish? They would outsource our farming jobs to other countries that have the land and cheap labor to make a profit.

And, all the while, the backbone that helped our country flourish would slowly bow until it eventually breaks.

Farmers and legislators remain at odds.

Supporters of Bush's plan say that there will be minimal changes to the farm bill and than something has to be done to put a dent in the country's record deficit.

Legislators on the other side contend that changing the farm bill midstream would be disastrous for the family farmer. Plus, opponents to Bush's plan believe that the farm bill programs have spent $15 billion less than was originally budgeted so that it would be another slap in the face if more money was taken from farmers.

Both sides have merit to their arguments but the answer lies in finding a compromise.

Farmers may have to shoulder some of the burden of climbing out of a massive financial hole but they should not be asked to carry a load larger than other Americans.

After all, this country grew from agriculture and farming will continue to nourish the nation as we move forward.