Query : Who should get taxpayer dollars from the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program — Minnesota turkey growers or Kentucky bluegrass sod farmers ?
It’s a serious question … especially since in the first round of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (or CFAP1), Minnesota turkey operations were shut out. This prompted bipartisan complaints from the Minnesota delegation, such that President Trump’s Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue changed the eligibility for Round Two (or CFAP2). Oh, he also changed it for sod farmers. In fact, if you sheer Alpacas and sell the fleece for clothing, you are eligible for the CFAP2 program … talk about fleecing the taxpayer ! Yep, it seems that the CFAP2 program is like the proverbial Christmas tree where there needs to be a present for every one … and yes, Christmas trees are eligible for CFAP2.
Gosh, wouldn’t you expect someone who brands himself as fiscal conservative would be demanding a review ?
So, you may have been surprised if you received the February 8 2021 edition of the Hagedorn Report. Don’t worry, Congressman Hagedorn boasted of his fiscal concerns over President Biden’s Covid relief proposal, stating “This is about Democrats’ desire to abuse their power and ram through policies that are antithetical to the America we know and love. Further, it will depress economic growth, force small businesses under, and saddle our children with overwhelming debt.”
Also, included in the email is a link to a news story that President Biden was “freezing” payments until a review is done on the CFAP2 program. Congressman Hagedorn called Biden’s policy “anti-farmer” saying that the payments “must be restored immediately before any further damage is done.”
Hmmm … considering that reportedly more than $23 billion was paid to farmers and ranchers under two versions of CFAP during the Trump administration, wouldn’t a fiscally conscience Congressman be concerned if that money was distributed properly ?
A “freeze” does not mean “cancellation” .. in fact, the actual announcement said “In the coming days, the USDA and the Biden administration intend to take additional steps to bring relief and support to all parts of food and agriculture during the coronavirus pandemic, including by ensuring producers have access to the capital, risk management tools, disaster assistance, and other federal resources.”
After all, that was the concern stated in a January 11 report that stated “Based on market analysis the combination of CFAP 1 and CFAP2 payments for hog producers did not effectively address the continued downward pressure on prices as compared to other sectors.” Gosh, wouldn’t a Congressman who has proposed legislation to “help independent pork producers maintain operations,” want to make sure the Biden Administration does a better job than the Trump Administration ?
Sounds like the Biden is asking questions that were suggested in the December 21, 2020 Congressional Research Services report describing how payment formulas vary by commodity group and how new and small farmers were treated. Further, the report asked questions, such as “which is a better method of approximating losses—basing payments on sales or on inventories? Should USDA have considered estimating losses on eligible commodities with actual sales separately from the loss calculations of commodities not yet harvested or sold ? Should USDA have adjusted for commodities that depend more heavily on farm production and marketing costs that actually decreased (fuel for drying or transporting grain.)”
The report also asked about overlap of other subsidies and the need for future payments … and if so, what happens “If producers reduce livestock inventories to adjust to current COVID-19-suppressed demand conditions, is that a return to normalcy, or is that a situation that requires compensation because demand is not what it would typically be—similar to the justification for the Market Facilitation Program payments?”
Sad to say, but it appears that Congressman Hagedorn has taken the approach that whatever the Trump Administration did was “perfect” and should not be questioned … but now under the Biden Administration they are “anti-farmer” and can’t do anything without being questioned.
So Congressman Hagedorn is on attack mode … sorta a far cry from just over a year ago, January 25, 2020 to be precise, when presenting his views that there needs to be reforms on food assistance programs [SNAP and that 782 Fillmore County children could get kicked off the hot school lunch program] “we also want to be fair to the taxpayers” as “People should fend for themselves.”
Well, “to be fair to the taxpayers“, there should be a complete review of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program that the Trump Administration amended on January 19, 2021 — effectively, the last day of the Trump presidency — specifically where it made changes in “turfgrass sold” and “Alpaca fleece“.