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Farmers truly deserve a Happy Christmas, but probably not a give-away farm bill

farm_decorated_for_christmasChristmas is a time for love, thoughtfulness, and caring: even for farm organizations that seem to want almost nothing more than to send taxpayer dollars to wealthy farmers in the largest amounts they can possibly finagle.

The truth about most farmers in the United States is that, like so many wonderful people in America, they are simply good folks working hard to make a living, sometimes in very difficult circumstances. I think of farmers who raise cattle and grow wheat along Route 2 in Montana. The road runs from east to west, thirty miles south of the Canadian border for hundreds of miles. At this time of year, courtesy of the real polar express, day time highs are often below zero (that’s zero Fahrenheit), lows sink well below minus twenty or thirty, and the winds blow hard. The roads are ice cold slick and even the cattle exceptionally unhappy. Yet farmers and ranchers do their best to make sure the animals are safe, fed, and properly watered, which is much harder than you might think when all the H2O around you is more suited for a Jack Daniels on the rocks than anything else.

We should celebrate and pray for what these wonderful people do every day of their lives. They do raise the crops we all need, and many are wonderful servants in their communities.

None of which, of course, means the federal government needs to give farm households with incomes much higher than those of the average taxpayer hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in the form of multiple subsidies. But we do need to say a genuine thank you, Happy Christmas, and have a wonderful new year (with great crops and no animal diseases) to each and every farmer and rancher.

While we are at it, we also need to be just as grateful for the hard working young lady, a single mother with two children working a “close to minimum wage” job at McDonald’s, who handed us our Egg McMuffins on Christmas Eve as we rush do our Christmas shopping.  Now that may be the sort of person who really needs our fiscal help, as well as our prayers and appreciation for the job they do so well.