Hearings on Farm Crisis This Week in Washington, D.C. and Europe; Producing Food Is No Longer Worth It!
April 15, 2016 (EIRNS)—Hearings took place in Congress April 14, and in the European Parliament April 12, on the farm crisis in the U.S.A. and Europe. For many commodities, it’s too costly for farmers to continue producing food.
In the United States, "...Net farm income has dropped 56 percent over the past three years alone," warned Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Arkansas), who chaired the Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management of the House Agriculture Committee hearing yesterday. The four witnesses included the presidents of the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Farmers Union, as well as the Agriculture Department’s Chief Economist, Rob Johansson, and Texas A&M Prof. Joe Outlaw.
Roger Johnson, National Farmers Union president, reported, for example, that with corn selling for $3.50 a bushel, the per acre return for the farmer is minus $2.61. The farmer’s return for Spring wheat (at $5.26 a bushel) is minus $14.7. The return for the oilseed crop canola (rapeseed) (at $0.148/bu) is minus $30.53 an acre.
Look at livestock. The total cost of producing one cow in Tennessee is $1,029; with the total revenue for that cow of $821, the farm makes minus $208.
The situation in Europe is similar. The European Parliament April 12 met on the crisis, blasting its witness, EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan. Some MEPs, calling it, "the worst agriculture crisis in recent decades," demanded emergency interventions, especially for dairy and livestock.
The order of the day, for what to do about the crises, is talk and punt. The House Agriculture Committee today announced that yesterday’s hearing,
"was the first in a new series of hearings entitled ’Focus on the Farm Economy,’ where each of the six subcommittees will explore the different pressures resulting from the financial stress in farm country. Over the past three years, net farm income has fallen 56 percent, the largest three-percentage decline since the Great Depression..."