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SG-W:/ Posting articles on the list



To all:

Andrew raises a good point.  I have been pretty lax about enforcing this,
but since more articles have been showing up lately, it's time to enforce
the following requirement:

Instead of posting entire articles from newspapers, books, magazines,
etc., please include a link where the article can be read.  You can
include a short summary of the article, but do not post the entire
article.  The first violation (from this point on) will result in a
warning.  Second violations will result in removal from the list.

Jeff Surfus
List Administrator

----- Original Message -----
From: "Andrew I. Mutch" <amutch@waterford.lib.mi.us>
To: <Rober98@aol.com>
Cc: <smartgrowth-washtenaw@great-lakes.net>
Sent: Thursday, December 27, 2001 12:50 PM
Subject: Re: SG-W:/ farm subsidies


I'm not sure if this list limits posting articles. But people should be
very careful about posting copyrighted articles in their entirety on an
archived e-mail list. It could very well be a violation of copyright law.
The safe and legal way to do this is to provide a link to the article and
even a short summary should be OK.  Otherwise, you place yourself and the
list in jeopardy of being found in violation of copyright law.

Andrew Mutch
Novi

On Thu, 27 Dec 2001 Rober98@aol.com wrote:

> Here's a New York Times article on reaction to the farm subsidies online
> database: http://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/27/national/27FARM.html
>
> Here's the text:
>
> >> December 27, 2001
> NATIONAL
> Farmers Abashed, or Irate, Over Subsidy List
> By ELIZABETH BECKER
>
> PERU, Ill., Dec. 21 ?" With their fields resting under a thin layer of
frost
> and their tractors put away for the winter, farmers have time to sit
around
> coffee shops and fume over having their most private secrets spread
across
> the newspaper for everyone to talk about.
>
> "It was like being outed," said Keith R. Bolin, a grain and hog farmer
from
> Sheffield, who received $130,343 in farm subsidy payments from the
federal
> government over five years. "But to be honest with you, I don't mind. It
was
> a wake-up call, making us look like we're not all that different from
the
> welfare mothers in Chicago."
>
> The newly published secrets fueling the farmers' talk of rage and
> recrimination here and across rural America come from a Web site that
has
> made public for the first time every farm subsidy payment received by
every
> farmer since 1996.
>
> That means everyone ?" farmer and city dweller alike ?" now knows
exactly how
> dependent on the government farmers have become since the Freedom to
Farm Act
> of 1996 and how the most dependent are the top 10 percent or 20 percent
who
> receive a disproportionately large share of the subsidies. Nationally,
farm
> subsidies total about $20 billion a year.
>
> For rural communities, the list has caused embarrassment and some
jealousy.
>
> "This Web site isn't going to help us much," said Randy Michelini, a
Grand
> Ridge corn farmer who received $28,890 over five years. "It will be used
as
> ammunition against farmers. Now a lot of farmers feel violated, and some
just
> feel plain jealous."
>
> The men here and at other coffee stops on Interstate 80 said it was one
thing
> for them to know that the government checks were often the only thing
keeping
> them from having to give up and move off the land. It was another to see
the
> awkwardly large subsidies printed in the community newspaper.
>
> "I don't like people knowing my business, but to be a viable farmer you
have
> to have government support ?" especially since crop prices went so
flat," said
> John Dollinger, a fifth-generation Minooka farmer whose family came from
> Germany in the early 19th century and has raised corn on the same land
ever
> since.
>
> Mr. Dollinger, who received $362,068 over five years, said, "If you're
not a
> farmer, you don't understand our business and how bad prices have been
the
> last five years."
>
> After the anger comes the inevitable reflection about how farming has
changed
> during those five years. Small family farmers are being driven out by
flat
> grain prices, kept artificially low in part by government subsidies that
> encourage overproduction. The more acres of grain or cotton a farmer
owns,
> the bigger the subsidy. The subsidy programs also help ensure that when
> prices are low, the government will help make up the difference.
>
> At current prices, it costs a farmer as much as 50 cents more to raise a
> bushel of corn than he receives on the market. The biggest winners, many
> farmers say, are the huge grain companies that buy inexpensive corn
> subsidized by the taxpayer and then process and sell it at a profit.
>
> Michael Veit of La Salle, another farmer drinking coffee with Mr.
Dollinger
> at the RPlace restaurant outside Morris, Ill., said he felt strange
talking
> about how much he received from the government ?" more than $210,000
over five
> years. But Mr. Veit said that if he had to talk about the subsidies, he
also
> wanted the taxpayer to know that corn prices had been so low that he had
to
> take a second job driving a truck.
>
> "I sure wish I had that $210,000 in my bank account, but it all went to
pay
> my bills," Mr. Veit said. "These farm programs are driving a lot of
smaller
> farmers right out of business, pushing the crop prices down and the
rents for
> land up."
>
> Should anyone doubt those claims, all they need do is read local
newspapers
> like The Ottawa Daily Times, The Bureau County Republican or The Morris
Daily
> Herald to see how their big neighbors have expanded their farms, thanks
to
> subsidy payments that are often 10 times what they have been receiving.
>
> "It explains a lot," said Rod Thorson, a Republican candidate for the
> Illinois Senate and a local farm radio broadcaster. "You can see from
the
> payment lists how the rich farmers can afford to buy up the small ones
like
> cannibals, all subsidized by the government."
>
> Here in La Salle County, that disparity means that while more than 4,000
> farmers received a total of $136 million in subsidies, the top two farms
got
> more than $1 million apiece and everyone else in the top 20 received at
least
> $300,000, leaving very little for the bottom of the list.
>
> The data for the country was retrieved by the Environmental Working
Group
> through the Freedom of Information Act and then put on a Web site,
> www.ewg.org. The nonprofit group hopes the information will lead to
limits on
> subsidies and more financing for conservation programs for farmers.
>
> Since it became public, the Web site has received more than 11 million
hits
> and inspired rural newspapers to publish lists of the top ?" and in
some cases
> the bottom ?" recipients, causing initial embarrassment and then a wave
of
> curiosity as farmers log on to find their names.
>
> "We've had farmers call and tell us they didn't know how much their
tenants
> were receiving in subsidies until they saw the Web site, and now they
want to
> renegotiate their contracts," said Ken Cook, the head of Environmental
> Working Group.
>
> It has also touched off a debate in Congress, where lawmakers are
deadlocked
> over how to change farm policy. Farm-state lawmakers said they would
canvass
> their constituents over the holiday recess to see whether the knowledge
of
> who gets what size of subsidy has fueled support for greater changes to
farm
> policy, like limiting subsidies or restructuring the program entirely.
>
> Mr. Thorson, the host of two daily farm radio programs, said he took a
> telephone poll to gauge farmer sentiment before he went on the air a few
> weeks ago and read the names of the top recipients.
>
> "I got about 40 phone calls, and only one of them said he didn't want to
hear
> his name read," Mr. Thorson said.
>
> Since then, farmers have taped the newspaper lists to the dashboards of
their
> trucks and stuck them on their refrigerator doors as a reminder of who
is
> profiting from the dismal state of agriculture.
>
> Don J. Schiff, an officer of the Union Bank in Princeton, Ill., said the
> public list had made farmers jumpy.
>
> "This Web site has had a furious impact," Mr. Schiff said. "Now the
public
> knows what we bankers have known for a long time: that farmers have lost
> their freedom. It's as plain as the nose on the end of your face."
>
> Everyone around the cafe table agreed that the only question was how
much
> longer the taxpayer would subsidize a system that was helping everyone
but
> the small family farmer it was intended to save.
>
> "Not more than 10 years is my guess," Mr. Schiff said. "Then I wonder
what
> will be left out here."  <<
>
>
>
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