Tag Archives: Agriculture

White House Has ‘Peculiar’ Justification for Illegal Immigration

John C Calhoun, the newest White House advisor on immigration.
John C Calhoun, the newest White House advisor on immigration.

John C Calhoun, the newest White House advisor on immigration.

Someone in the White House is channeling John C. Calhoun.

Stephen Dinan, of the Washington Times, writes the White House has issued a report that claims, “…the strength and continuity of rural America is contingent on common–sense immigration reform.” In other words, the availability of your boutique tomatoes depends on amnesty for illegals.

The Obama Administration believes rural America, much like the antebellum South, has a ‘peculiar institution’ the rest of the nation must respect. In this instance the 50 to 60 percent of the agricultural workforce that’s in the country illegally.

In the 20–page report Calhoun, whoops…the authors, claim farmers are having trouble hiring workers and as a result are cutting back on planting or “are moving operations abroad as a result of the labor shortage.”

That must require some doing. Are they boxing up the plantation and shipping it — dirt and all — to foreign shores? What happens to the hole left behind in Mississippi? Do administration staffers really think produce is grown in the back room of Whole Foods, adjacent to the customer bathroom?

The justification for tolerating widespread illegality among sodbusters goes like this, “Under the current system, rural America is losing opportunity and harvests due to lack of a stable workforce. Coupled with a decline in native-born rural populations, the strength and continuity of rural America is contingent on common-sense immigration reform that improves job opportunity, provides local governments with the tools they need to succeed, and increases economic growth.”

The entire argument sounds suspiciously like Calhoun’s justification for slavery. He contended, according to Wikipedia, “Southern whites, outnumbered in the United States by voters of the more densely-populated Northern states, were one such minority deserving special protection in the legislature.”

The only real difference is how the workforce arrived to participate in the vital rural economy. In Calhoun’s day slaves arrived under duress, in Obama’s day the helots volunteer. Either way the rest of the country is supposed to tolerate and approve of what Democrats desire.

Both systems undermine our domestic labor market, penalize low–income Americans and reward those with no respect for the rule of law, which in this instance includes both employers and employees.

A simple application of market forces would solve the farmer’s labor problem. Right now there’s little demand among U.S. citizens for agriculture jobs at wages that are depressed by illegal immigration. Close the border while raising wages and watch the wonder of the marketplace at work.

Or invest in mechanization and replace the human factor with machines. Farmers made the switch from horses to tractors. Does the administration think automobile manufacturers would have invested in robotics if they had access to illiterate high school dropouts willing to work for minimum wage and no benefits?

The question answers itself. America would have been entertained by footage of workers fleeing Chipotle and General Motors when INS vans pulled into the parking lot. At least until the Obama re–election campaign began.

Agriculture lobbyists, dripping with concern for harried shoppers, contend that raising wages will mean produce prices go up. That’s a risk I’m willing to take. Besides, if gutless Republican Congressmen would force the federal government cut back on the double subsidy agriculture policy currently in place — farmers are guaranteed a minimum price and get paid by Uncle Sam, while consumers are stuck with higher prices at the grocery store — the reduction in prices caused by letting the market work without government interference, could well balance the increase in costs due to paying a market wage.

Strangely, the White House report issues a vague threat to begin “immigration enforcement actions that could tighten the supply of farm labor.” That appears to be a reference to deportation; something the Obama Administration essentially ended last summer. Threatening to do something Republicans have been demanding for months is hardly a credible threat and will do nothing to put pressure on the House to pass an amnesty bill.

Unfortunately for the administration, this warning is old, discredited news. Alabama passed a bill cracking down on illegal “rural” workers in 2011 and Democrats used many of the same scare stories. Yet Alabama produce did not vanish from the shelves. In fact, Gina Loudon reported, “Immediately after the bill (HB 56) was passed, the unemployment rate began to drop. Since the bill passed last legislative session, in some counties, unemployment has dropped dramatically. For example, unemployment has gone from 10 percent to 6.9 percent in the former illegal immigrant hotbed of Marshall County, Alabama.”

But it was so hard on farmers. According to a Reuter’s story, Jerry Spencer estimates 90 percent of the illegals left the county (note to Members of Congress) and he started recruiting the unemployed to replace the vanished amigos. “There’s a fair amount of reticence on the part of farmers to take the city folk and unemployed workers,” Spencer said. “They really hate letting go of their amigos because they’re so problem-free. They don’t squabble.”

Yeah, there’s nothing like a field full of docile illegals to make one feel like a real patron.

Before the Civil War Democrats and their politicians exploited slaves so they could live in the manner to which they had grown accustomed. Modern Democrat politicians, and the businesses they enable, are willing to exploit illegal immigrants for the same reason. Both sets of Democrats are more than happy to dump the resulting social costs on the rest of the country.

The question is how much longer are we going to put up with it?

USDA wants meat origins on labels

C. K. Hartman (CC)

C. K. Hartman (CC)

C. K. Hartman (CC)


Ever think about where the cow was born and slaughtered when you were biting into a nice, juicy burger? If you’re like most people, probably not. But that might change if the U.S. Department of Agriculture gets its way. Taking “truth in advertising” to a whole new level, the USDA wants to include the location where livestock is born, raised, and slaughtered – along with the dates these things occurred – on meat packaging.

While the reasoning behind this might seem at least a little logical, at least when it comes to tracking meat that causes illness in humans, this isn’t a business-friendly policy particularly for imported meat. Additionally, as with any other governmental requirements in business, this will eventually affect food prices for consumers, and not in a good way. Canada and Mexico have leveled complaints about this proposed policy, stating that it amounts to “thinly-veiled protectionism” meant to corner them out of the U.S. food market.

The Food Marketing Institute, which represents retail giants like Target and single-store groceries, says the new rules will cost many millions of dollars to implement and result in higher food prices.

Canada and Mexico filed legal objections with the World Trade Organization, arguing that their livestock exporters would be hurt by what they see as a protectionist policy. The U.S. lost the initial judgment and again on appeal.
Following the dual setbacks, the Obama administration has until May 23 to revise the program. Changes have been made, but both Canada and Mexico say the revised regulations would still hurt their livestock exporters.

The two nations are joined by unhappy U.S. livestock and food industry groups, including the prime lobbying group for supermarkets, in alleging that it’s all too expensive and unnecessary.

Major U.S. cattle ranchers and consumer groups, however, argue that Americans want to know as much as possible about what they eat.

Of course since this policy would benefit U.S. cattle ranchers, it’s no wonder that they would claim that Americans really do want to see the word “slaughtered” on all their meat purchases. Perhaps the consumer groups also need to figure out what the public really means by the phrase “as much as possible” in this context.

USDA hosting first ever US-China Agricultural Symposium

The first ever US-China Agricultural Symposium took place today. The Symposium where government and industry leaders from the US and China will meet to tackle export issues, to allow US Beef to be exported into the Asia Pacific region.

Minister Han Chanfu meeting with US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

Minister Han Chanfu meeting with US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

China became the number one market for US agricultural goods in 2011. China purchasing over $20 billion in US agricultural exports. This represents to the US over 160,000 American jobs in agricultural jobs and other sectors. American agriculture represents 1 in 12 jobs in the US and provides American consumers with 86% of the food we consume.

The USDA reports that strong agricultural exports contribute to a positive US trade balance, create jobs and boost economic growth. And reports that US agriculture is currently experiencing one of its best periods in history thanks to the productivity, resiliency, and resourcefulness of our producers.

Another goal of today’s meetings is to continue to strengthen bilateral trade relations and support the American brand of agriculture.

US Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack has worked with China to aggressively expand export opportunities and reduce barriers to trade, helping to push agricultural exports to record levels in 2011.

Vilsack was quoted, saying “Thanks to the productivity of American farmers, ranchers and producers, consumers in China recognize the United States as a reliable supplier of high-quality food and agricultural products. Strengthening our partnership with China’s growing market is integral to the strength of the U.S. economy in the decades ahead.”

These look like strong times for US agricultural, if talks go well we can see huge gains in exports and more jobs generated.

EU to Cut 75% of Food for the Poor Programs in 2012

In an odd twist of fate we see just what happens when European Big Government Socialism runs into reality as the EU announced that starting Jan 1, 2012 they will be cutting 75% of the funding that feeds 18 million of it’s poorest citizens. The Food for the Deprived program dates back to 1987 when it relied heavily on heavy food surpluses, which were the result of a bloated and inefficient subsidy regime. But over time, as the farming became more efficient, food was (GASP!) increasingly purchased on the market to keep the program going.

Once again we see that big government created a problem due to the over-reaching, Socialism-pushing politicians constant desire to encroach on the free market system, with drastic results. Farmers grow products and sell them to feed the people in the free market system. Along comes big government subsidies resulting in them dictating just how and where they will sell (or give away) their products, and poof! a viable system of providing poor people with extra farm products disappears! So, thanks to a bloated and inefficient big government farm subsidy program, some 18 million of the EU’s poorest citizens are facing a 75% cut to their food programs. And here in America the Liberal media thinks the “Occupy Wall Street park benches crowd” has it rough! Maybe if we have to tighten our belts, and cut, oh.. say 75% of the Occupiers food stamps next year they will really have something to protest? A word of advise: Quit biting the capitalistic hands that are feeding you, children Occupiers.

BBC mid Wales published an article, AM,s warn over European Union Farm Grants shakeup:

In that article we see that the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) reforms must not lead to less money for Wales. They have drawn up a report in an assembly advisory committee that they “recommend that the assembly government uses the influence of Welsh MEPs, and builds alliances with other European Union regions.” What is all-telling from within this report is this statement: ” Income from CAP’s single farm payment accounted for 90% of average farm income in Wales, so its importance could not be underestimated.” Now that Welsh farms have become 90% dependent on big government, when big government goes insolvent, people are destined to go hungry as the farms collapse. When the grants and subsidies run dry due to big government Socialism, everyone suffers, especially the poor. This is what we can expect to see in America if we do not get our government totally out of our free market system. Thus. along came the Tea party movement that rocked the elitist Liberals right out of the federal and State governments across American in 2010, and we can expect to see more of the same in the 2012 elections.The last thing we need is to copy these failed European Socialism experiments, such as the big government control/meddling in Europe’s farming system that will deny 18 million of the poorest people in the E/U countries food this winter.

In getting back to the EU announcement of the 75% cuts to the feed the poor programs, we see another example of what happens when big government goes wild and becomes unmanageable, in the fact that no less than 27 EU Farm Ministers will asses the next Thursday, where they will look at trying to keep the program going ( through legal challenges) at a cost of $690 million/yr in funding, instead of moving to $155 million. Either way, this all depends on one simple thing: Do they have the money to fully fund the program or not? Current reports point to the fact that during the current EU recession they do not in fact, have the money to fully find the food program, as it does not appear it will get a sufficient majority.

In summary, as a great world leader once stated: “The problem with Socialism, is that eventually you run out of other people’s money to spend.” This is painfully obvious in the EU today, and unless we stop Barack Obama’s current European Socialism experiment here in America by voting him out in 2012, we can expect to see the same here in the near future. 2012 just can’t get here fast enough!