Letter to the WCP Editor – 8.03.10 – Upchurch

Letter to the WCP Editor – 8.03.10 – Upchurch

Posted: Wednesday, August 4, 2010 11:02 am

Dear Editor,
Agriculture and farming are the number one industries in Congressional District 8.  Agriculture accounts for 10.5 percent of the state’s economy and generates $51.4 billion in output.
The communities of this district are rewarded when agriculturalists and farmers buy supplies and equipment, sell their crops, deposit funds in banks, pay taxes and contribute greatly to the economy in the communities of this district. 
What would happen should agriculture leave these counties?  It disturbs me there is so much anti-farmer talk in this election cycle.
Agriculture is not immune from suffering the same future that the textile industry faced several years ago.  Our food and fiber production could leave this country.  The cost of agricultural production in the United States is high.  Farmers overcome that high cost with efficiency. 
But, farm program payments also hedge against the cost of production in this country.  When farmers receive farm payments, it is not pure profit as some would lead you to believe.  There are production expenses that must be paid to their lender, bills to their farm supply store and the list could continue. 
A recent survey showed the average net farm income from 2002 – 2006 of a Tennessee grain farmer was $40,722 and that included farm payments.  That is a long way from millions of dollars of profits.
Farm payments help farm production to stay in this country.  The consumer is rewarded through lower food prices and a safely grown food supply.
Let’s keep our food and fiber production in the United States.  Our food supply is a matter of national security.  I can do without many of the material things I want, but protection of our food supply is crucial. 
Demand that your food be produced here and not somewhere outside this country where we cannot trust how it is grown and handled.  
Remember what happened to fuel prices because of imported oil, the same could happen with food.
Farm programs promote both food stability and security.  The programs protect US consumers from high prices and US farmers from crashing prices. 
Farm programs also enable our country to independently produce our own basic food supply and this is crucial in food security.
Think about it,
W. Lacy Upchurch,
President
Tennessee Farm
Bureau
WCP 8.03.10

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