Vis the NYT comes this look at the economics of small scale farming: Don’t let your children grow up to be farmers
AT a farm-to-table dinner recently, I sat huddled in a corner with some other farmers, out of earshot of the foodies happily eating kale and freshly shucked oysters. We were comparing business models and profit margins, and it quickly became clear that all of us were working in the red.
The dirty secret of the food movement is that the much-celebrated small-scale farmer isn’t making a living. After the tools are put away, we head out to second and third jobs to keep our farms afloat. Ninety-one percent of all farm households rely on multiple sources of income. Health care, paying for our kids’ college, preparing for retirement? Not happening. With the overwhelming majority of American farmers operating at a loss — the median farm income was negative $1,453 in 2012 — farmers can barely keep the chickens fed and the lights on.
Steve King’s district has stunning subsidies but wants to shrink other people’s government.
$9.17 billion in subsidies 1995-2012. $8.06 billion in commodity subsidies. $897 million in conservation subsidies. $211 million in disaster subsidies.
Brad DeLong points us to another stunning set of subsidies, this example for Congressman Tim Huelskamp:
Halloween on the Prairie: Congressman Tim Huelskamp Is the Most Frightening Thing I Will See All Day — Congressman Tim Huelskamp: “I’m from a district that pretty much ignores Washington. If you say government is going to shut down, they say, ‘OK, which part can we shut down?’” Farm subsidies! Shut down farm subsidies! Move farm subsidies from the “mandatory entitlements” to the “discretionary appropriations” side of the budget…