We need parity price at the farm gate

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Dear Editor,

In the Sept. 22 News-Argus it was reported Lieutenant Governor Mike Cooney was in town to discuss rural issues. Cooney and the Montana Department of Agriculture Director Ben Thomas, met with nine producers, who hold key positions in agricultural organizations. I would like to make the following suggestion.

Because farmers and ranchers do not price their products, (the buyers do), prices will continue to be volatile. The buyers can change the price by stating they have lost the market, or any other reason. Don’t blame President Trump and trade wars. All the food we produce is eaten; you cannot find meat dumped behind slaughter plants or wheat dumped in the ocean. When we export American-raised food, we have to import foreign grown. (This is good for the export business).

President Trump has at his fingertips the ability to correct America’s agriculture depression of terrible prices, closing up rural towns, propping up Farm Bills with taxpayer money, etc. He can reinstate the Steagall Amendment. This amendment was passed to get us out of the 1930s depression and pay for WWII. (By using the Steagall Amendment, we could pay off our $20-some-trillion national debt). When you increase agricultural income, for every $1 agriculture makes it has an economic increase of $7 as it goes through our nation. The $7 increase goes to wages, not grocery cost. Every time our income goes down, your grocery bill goes up. It is connected to the GDP.

The Department of Agriculture is doing the best they can. They know most all farm and ranch produce is priced by the national and international buyers; these buyers “set” the general prices. The USDA keeps track of ag prices and the ratio between GDP (the income and buying power of three of the main incomes/wealth in America -- agriculture, labor and manufacturing).

The Lewistown News-Argus carried the parity prices (GDP) Aug. 11. All beef cattle were listed at 40 percent of a fair income. In the “Western Ag Reporter” out of Billings on Sept. 6, the headline says “Net Farm Income to Drop 13 Percent in 2018 USDA Projects.” This will ill affect our Montana Legislature, all rural communities, schools, Montana and America.

Therefore, if you agree with this, send it to President Trump, Senator Daines, Representative Gianforte, etc. God bless our farm leaders, but it is a parity price we need at the farm gate.

Bobbi Cox

Lewistown

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