Let us manage our own water
LAWTON, N.D. -- I read "U.S. urged to act on Wheat Cost" on the Data Transmission Network and can't resist responding. The article said the world is begging for wheat and organizations are asking the government to do something about the uncertain...
LAWTON, N.D. -- I read "U.S. urged to act on Wheat Cost" on the Data Transmission Network and can't resist responding. The article said the world is begging for wheat and organizations are asking the government to do something about the uncertain supplies of this stable food.
As I write, my DTN is awash with stories of new farm bill negotiations and also budget cutting schemes.
Maybe it is time for lawmakers in Washington to listen to common sense. I say it is time to give back to farmers the right to manage water on our property and eliminate the regulatory costs of enforcing these unpopular directives.
We farmers get castigated in the media as subsidydependent, even depicted in cartoons as having mailbox-shaped heads because we spend all our time looking for our next farm program payment. It is true we get subsidies, but we have had to sell our souls to qualify.
Our ability to manage water on our property has been usurped by the financial reality that, historically, prices of the commodities we produce have been too low and we needed the subsidies to show a profit. With the many years of "above-normal" rainfall, we have needed every dollar from crop insurance and disaster payments to continue farming.
I have many friends who have been or currently are being prosecuted for trying to become more efficient in their farming operations. Their "misdeeds" all relate to water management and their efforts would lesson their dependence on subsidies and crop insurance.
Crop insurance statistics from North Dakota show that 34 percent to 40 percent of crop insurance payments to farmers in North Dakota are because of excess moisture. These losses could be mitigated by returning to farmers their right to manage water on their own property. This would reduce federal budget outlays by forcing Natural Resources Conservation Service and U.S.?Fish and Wildlife Service prosecutors to get productive, honest jobs and quit forcing inefficiencies on ambitious farmers. It also would reduce the federal share of crop insurance outlays.
We, as farmers, have the will and technology to increase production.
One stumbling block to our efforts are politicians who legislate inefficiencies at a great cost to taxpayers.
Editor's Note: Miller farms in Lawton, N.D.