Critics Pounce on News of Record Farm Income
U.S. farmers are projected to make a record profit despite the worst drought in more than 50 years – and that has some arguing that government help for producers can be scaled back. USDA forecast this week that higher prices and crop insurance payments will outweigh the losses caused by the dry conditions – pushing farm profits up 3.7-percent from 2011 to 122.2-billion dollars this year. Craig Cox – head of Agriculture and Natural Resource Programs for the Environmental Working Group – calls it compelling evidence that what started out as a basic safety net has become a program that essentially guarantees business income. But American Farm Bureau Federation Chief Economist Bob Young notes some are faring better than others. With corn – for instance – he says the lucky growers with something to sell are okay – but those who expected 180 bushels and got 20 need something to help with costs. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack also notes that thousands of farm families are struggling. He continues to call for a new farm bill that will provide more certainty for agricultural producers.