This parable was told to the House Ag Committee in Gainesville, FL on June 24th. We thank Virginia Sanchez for speaking up to help shed light on the unfair and unjust aspects of the 2014 Farm bill.
The Story of Three Peanut Farmers:
These three farmers are neighbors. They go to church together, they hunt together, and their kids play ball together.
It’s the first day of peanut planting. The farmer to the west tells his wife; well I’m going to start planting today even though peanut prices are very low. We have base and qualify for a PLC payment. We will be ok. The government is providing us a safety net.
The farmer in the middle tells his wife. I’m starting to plant today and I’m worried sick because of low prices. We don’t have any base and don’t qualify for the PLC payment. All we can hope for is that somewhere/somehow there is a shortage of peanuts this year and prices will go up. He says I’m really worried. We’ve got peanut equipment and land payments. Our employees and their families are depending on us. He prays his situation turns around soon.
Now the farmer to the east is sitting on his front porch and tells his wife. Well I don’t think I’ll plant peanuts this year. We’ve got base and qualify for a $250,000 PLC payment regardless if I plant or not. We don’t have any land payments. I paid our land off when the government bought out my peanut quota in 2002. I think I just won’t hire any employees, buy any equipment, fuel, fertilizer or supplies. We will just pocket the $250,000. Heck lets you and I just go fishing today.
The farmer in the middle is also being attacked by his neighbors because he’s speaking out against a program that doesn’t work for him, his family or his employees. The base holders don’t want their program touched. He knows they would be doing the same if they were in his shoes. He’s being called a troublemaker and rebel by his neighbors. Their longtime friendship has been deeply damaged.
Notice I didn’t say what state these three farmers live in because these three farmers live in every peanut producing state in the US. The 2014 farm bill has created the haves, have-nots and the ones that don’t have to do anything.
Written By: Virginia Sanchez of Sanchez Farms, LLC
To learn more about how you can help, visit The Florida Peanut Federation; or call the Jordan Agency and speak to Daniel or Bruce