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Published December 06, 2009, 12:00 AM

IN THE MAIL: Farm Bureau can’t have it both ways

In a statement issued Nov. 23, the farm organization said it is opposed to all farm program payments and asks that they be discontinued. The organization then goes on to decry health care reform as a government takeover, which it is not.

By: Torrey Schatz, Casselton, N.D.

CASSELTON, N.D. — I must admit I was a little surprised by recent statements from the North Dakota Farm Bureau.

In a statement issued Nov. 23, the farm organization said it is opposed to all farm program payments and asks that they be discontinued. The organization then goes on to decry health care reform as a government takeover, which it is not.

Nonetheless, the North Dakota Farm Bureau gets a great deal of its revenue through insurance operations including a federally subsidized crop insurance program. Are they asking for an end to the crop insurance program, too?

How can they possibly take part in that government-run program that subsidizes premiums for all farmers regardless of their income, while at the same time complaining about a health reform measure that subsidizes health insurance for those who can’t afford coverage?

Let’s face it: There are thousands of farmers in North Dakota who have a tough time affording health insurance. Apparently, Farm Bureau members don’t have that problem. It truly makes one wonder: If paying for health insurance is not a problem, why should the rest of us help their members pay their crop insurance premiums?

North Dakota Farm Bureau President Eric Aasmundstad and his organization can’t have it both ways. If they oppose health insurance subsidies for those in need, they likely should oppose crop insurance subsidies for those in need. And they surely should oppose crop insurance for those who are not in need.

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