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Published February 10, 2010, 12:00 AM

Letters - Financially elite farmers

As average citizens of the 7th Congressional District struggle with today’s financial mess, including home foreclosure, health care costs, and job loss, Congressman Collin Peterson focuses his attention on continued government support for the district’s financial elite – its farmers – who, even with record income over the last four years, still receive annual government subsidy checks, plus an even bigger perk of subsidized crop insurance.

To the editor:

As average citizens of the 7th Congressional District struggle with today’s financial mess, including home foreclosure, health care costs, and job loss, Congressman Collin Peterson focuses his attention on continued government support for the district’s financial elite – its farmers – who, even with record income over the last four years, still receive annual government subsidy checks, plus an even bigger perk of subsidized crop insurance.

For as House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson told wheat farmers Monday, January 25, he plans to start holding hearings this spring for a 2012 farm bill. When asked about direct payments, which amount to about $5 billion a year (crop insurance premium subsidies of another $5 billion), he said he’s not fond of direct payments and finds them hard to justify, but said he would fight for them if farm groups make the case they are the best method of [farm] program support.

And he also said, according to DTN, “We need something that can get you [farmers] back your cost of production, so you can farm next year ... We’re not doing that now.” But it is difficult to fashion such a system, he said.

So, after 20 years in Congress, Peterson says he doesn’t know how to address the farmers’ number-one historic issue, cost of production, other than with continued taxpayer cash! So what about the concerns of the remaining 90 percent of the district’s citizens? Who will make a case for the best method to address their problems? Or is it simply time for a new congressman to represent all the citizens of the 7th Congressional District of Minnesota and not just its wealthy farmers?

Alan Roebke

Alexandria, MN

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