default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Logout|My Dashboard

Cynthia Neely: Farm bill vote gives farmers welfare but not the poor

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 12:00 am

Rep. Stephen Fincher, a Republican and a farmer from Tennessee, has received nearly $3.5 million in farm subsidies from taxpayer money from the years 1999 to 2012. Last year, Mr. Fincher received $70,000.

Farmers have collected $265 billion in direct payments and farm insurance subsidies since 1995. These payments are often made even if farmers do not grow crops.

However, when it come to food stamps, Congressman Fincher wants to cut funding for them because, in his words, “This is other people’s money that Washington is appropriating and spending.”

The irony of his $3.5 million in “welfare” checks as “other people’s money” is apparently lost on him.

Last week, the House of Representatives voted to reduce the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by $40 billion. The vote was 217 to 210. Not one Democrat voted for this measure. Reducing SNAP will throw 3.8 million Americans out of the program in 2014.

The Republicans in the House took this action even though the Agriculture Department reports that 17.6 million households did not have enough to eat at some point in 2012, and the Census Bureau reports that 15 percent of Americans — or 46.5 million people in this country — live in poverty.

Unbelievably, 44 percent of those in poverty live below half the poverty line, which is $9,150 for a family of three. That is about 20.5 million people, and includes 15 million women and children.

For more startling facts about the poverty in this country, 55 percent of all food stamp recipients are children under 18 or the elderly over 65, and many of those who need nutritional assistance are in the military. The average benefit to a food stamp recipient is $133 per month.

But instead we give large subsidies to large farming operations that are paid not to grow cotton, corn, sugar, etc.

During the Great Recession, more Americans needed food stamp assistance due to plummeting incomes, loss of jobs, loss of homes and reduced working hours. Now is not the time to plunge the middle class and the working poor deeper into poverty.

One side of the SNAP program which has been largely ignored is the fact that by providing food stamp assistance at local grocery stores, SNAP puts more money into the economy and helps to provide private sector jobs in the farming, transportation and retail industries.

Republicans in Congress claim to support small businesses, but their actions speak louder than words.

The United States is the richest country in the world. We often hear claims about American “exceptionalism.” We also hear claims about following the teachings of Jesus.

Perhaps those voting against this program should read Proverbs 14.31: “He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.”

The Republicans in Congress should be ashamed of voting against feeding hungry Americans.

Cynthia Neely is a Lodi resident.

More about

More about

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don’t pretend you’re someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don’t threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don’t insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the ‘Report’ link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.
  • 9 Don’t be a troll.
  • 10 Don’t reveal personal information about other commenters. You may reveal your own personal information, but we advise you not to do so.
  • 11 We reserve the right, at our discretion, to monitor, delete or choose not to post any comment. This may include removing or monitoring posts that we believe violate the spirit or letter of these rules, or that we otherwise determine at our discretion needs to be monitored, not posted, or deleted.

Welcome to the discussion.


  • Charles Nelson posted at 12:24 pm on Mon, Oct 21, 2013.

    Charles Nelson Posts: 259

    While I agree with some of Ms. Neely's sentiments, it stands to reason that farmers also benefit from food stamps. When a consumer buys farm products, the farmer gets paid the same whether dollars or food stamps are used for the purchase.

  • Andrew Liebich posted at 9:34 am on Fri, Oct 18, 2013.

    Andrew Liebich Posts: 2999

    Believing Monsanto has nothing to do with farms and food is like believing water isn't wet.

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 8:07 am on Sat, Oct 5, 2013.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    However many Monsanto executives are now in the Obama administration is irrelevant. That has nothing to do with this column, Mr. Liebich.

    You can count dozens of former corporate executives several of the past administrations - especially oil and gas execs.

    It doesn't make your comment any more relevant.

  • John Kindseth posted at 5:05 pm on Fri, Oct 4, 2013.

    John Kindseth Posts: 246

    Who started the farm subsidy program ????

  • Doug Chaney posted at 10:04 am on Fri, Oct 4, 2013.

    advocate Posts: 502

    Greed is when too much is still not enough. They are called the "filthy" rich.

  • John Lucas posted at 4:28 pm on Thu, Oct 3, 2013.

    John Lucas Posts: 2730

    The reality is that Cindy knows very well what it takes to farm and the plight of the SMALL farmer as many of our family were just that back in Texas. The point of the letter is obviously about who the Republicans care about. They do not care about the small farmer but are in the pockets of Big Agriculture and certainly do not care about working people living on the edge. The Republican Party is all about promoting welfare as long as it is welfare for the big corporations whether agriculture or not.

  • Ted Lauchland posted at 3:38 pm on Thu, Oct 3, 2013.

    Ted Lauchland Posts: 261

    There was a reference to farmers not growing crops which ties a much bigger picture to the conversation. What is silly is to not look deeper into her statements than what - in her mind - is greed.

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 9:02 am on Thu, Oct 3, 2013.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    Mr. Lauchland - to accuse Ms. Neely of "a lack of understanding of what it takes to farm" is just plain silly.

    Her column really had nothing to do with farming, rather more to do with the amount of money given to large corporate farms and to Congress members who happen to be farmers and the amount of cash they take while at the same time denying hungry people money for food - GREED, plain and simple.

    As for "teach 'em to fish," most people and families receiving SNAP actually WORK, but their incomes are not large enough to cover all food and other expenses.

    It constantly amazes me that there are so many who have so much and yet want to deny those not as fortunate a SIMPLE MEAL.

  • Andrew Liebich posted at 8:09 am on Thu, Oct 3, 2013.

    Andrew Liebich Posts: 2999

    Monsanto has how many individuals in President Pinnocchios administration?

  • John Lucas posted at 7:13 am on Thu, Oct 3, 2013.

    John Lucas Posts: 2730


  • Ted Lauchland posted at 1:04 pm on Wed, Oct 2, 2013.

    Ted Lauchland Posts: 261

    The simple size of a farm does not only add zeros to the right of the income column but also to the right of the expense column. Bottom line determines failure or success.

  • Ted Lauchland posted at 12:54 pm on Wed, Oct 2, 2013.

    Ted Lauchland Posts: 261

    The size of a farm only adds or subtracts zeros from the right.

  • Ted Lauchland posted at 12:26 pm on Wed, Oct 2, 2013.

    Ted Lauchland Posts: 261

    Teach 'em to fish. It is all in HOW you should feed them. Be part of a productive society so they can turn around and be generous themselves.

    This article shows a lack of understanding what it takes to farm and what it also takes to keep it as a farm that supplies the food for ALL peoples.

    For instance - Mama nature vs. bank loans. Banks want consistencies. Irrigated lands as in California help for consistencies. For non irrigated crops how do you get the consistencies? Even so year to year crop levels bounce. People take for granted a consistent supply of food without having any idea about where it comes from.

    Teach them to fish so that they may understand.

    Fallowed lands going along with current producing lands have to be accounted for as well. The purpose of fallowing is to not overtax the land. Fertilizer helps for continued production but fallowing is a natural way of revitalizing soil in the way of nutrients and nematode reduction.

    California loves to try to control what they do not really understand .The tax man doesn't care.

    Or - maybe he does!

    Farm subsidies, property tax discounts, ag. land preservation policies either from government or individual private supported groups all aimed at creating affordable food for your table and also creating jobs that get it there are all valid.

    Labor vs. mechanization doesn't care about giving people jobs at one point and then turns around and makes it more affordable for everyone to purchase anything if they only had the money in the first place to buy it. Production expenses have to fit. Hand labor has it's benefits.

    When a farmer throws up his hands because of too many things working against him to produce what he can and he sells out to black topping there is no longer a food supply to argue over. Government choses to get involved with that to try to guarantee it not happening. It's not so much as not to grow as it is not to black top. Temporary fallowed lands are not to grow. You'd think California of all places would love caring for the land in such a manor.

    Everything else is a give away. Compassion for your fellowman comes in a much better form than that and if you want to quote Jesus - Again - "Teach them to fish".

    Europe has even more absurd looking policies than the U.S. trying to protect it's food sources.

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 9:51 am on Wed, Oct 2, 2013.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    It would be sheer incomprehension to even believe that the current system of Farm Subsidies is even related to the original act signed in 1936 by FDR.

    3/4's of the farms that receive these subsidies are large corporate farms - that is why they are so vigorously supported by Republicans.

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 9:23 am on Wed, Oct 2, 2013.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    Of 15 current members of the US Congress who received farm subsidies, 13 are Republicans.

    ALL ELEVEN in the House are Republicans.

    Of the 4 in the Senate, 2 are Democrats.

    Sen. Jon Tester (D) Montana received $505K between 1995 -2012
    Sen. Michael Bennett (D) California received $22K between 1995-2012

    NONE comes even close to Stephen Fincher's 3.5 MILLION between 1999-2012.

    Only ONE other exceeding ONE MILLION $$ in the 1995-2012 time period, Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R) California (1st Congressional District - Northern CA). He took office in Jan. 2013 and he voted FOR cutting the SNAP program.

  • Eric Barrow posted at 7:24 am on Wed, Oct 2, 2013.

    Eric Barrow Posts: 1604

    The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports that defense spending is 19% of the federal budget Medicare takes another 7%, together that’s 26% of the budget. Safety net programs (welfare) take 12% of the budget. The Bureau of Labor reports that in in 2011,10.4 million individuals were among the working poor.

  • Joe Baxter posted at 3:32 pm on Tue, Oct 1, 2013.

    Joe Baxter Posts: 1913

    American taxpayers are currently on the hook for over $400 BILLION a year in welfare entitlements, how much more do liberals, like Ms. Neely, think we should spend on welfare?
    Welfare costs in this country have reached a point where they account for more than the sums the nation spends on Social Security, Medicare, or national defense — the amounts spent on welfare equal the budget for defense and Medicare combined and for the most part, the recipients contribute NOTHING. Obama is fostering a generation of welfare dependent people. When you control what people get, you control what people do.
    As most liberals do, Ms Neely implies that only Republicans are involved in farm subsidies. Are we to believe that no Democratic farmers are receiving subsidies? Of course they do.

  • robert maurer posted at 3:08 pm on Tue, Oct 1, 2013.

    mason day Posts: 485

    ...and speaking of welfare, 34% of the nation's welfare recipients live in California, but only12% of the US population resides there. That is one-third of the nation's welfare recipients. California's per capita spending is 3rd at $179. New York is first at$256 and Idaho is at the bottom of the list at $17. www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/Jul/28/welfare-capital-of- the- us/ Oh, those uncaring conservatives that want poor people to starve: especially in Idaho...[lol]

  • Andrew Liebich posted at 9:51 am on Tue, Oct 1, 2013.

    Andrew Liebich Posts: 2999

    The Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act Pub.L. 74–461, enacted February 29, 1936 is the United States federal law that allows the government to pay farmers.

    The irony is apparently lost on Cynthia Neely.

    FDR was a Democrat.[sleeping]


Recent Comments

Posted 12 hours ago by Jien Kaur.

article: Letter: Ron Portal’s letters repeat the…

So very much the truth Mr Adams - but you forgot to make the mention of the man who spend the millions and finally discover that the Mr Oba…


Posted 12 hours ago by Michael Fiske.

article: Letter: Suggestions for committee appoi…

Ed, everybody knows JoAnne hates Bob. If you don't know that than you don't know squat! Open your eyes. She campaigned against two candidat…


Posted 12 hours ago by Jien Kaur.

article: Letter: Our leaders need to be better r…

The Mr Kindseth wrote that 'America’s attitude toward Royal Emperor Obama changed when he went from “We the People” to “Screw the People”' …


Posted 13 hours ago by Thomas Heuer.

article: Steve Hansen: Funding, researcher bias …

Skepticism is a smart way of saying "I DON'T KNOW." No more no less. It is not a lofty intellectual endeavor. It is used by the …


Posted 13 hours ago by Mike Adams.

article: Letter: Ron Portal’s letters repeat the…

A correct assumption instead: Mr. Portal, like most conservatives, utilize information that is not true and when they do use the correct …



Popular Stories



Your News

News for the community, by the community.

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists