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What about Fillmore County?


Fri, Jan 4th, 2002
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Monday, December 24, 2001

When I arrived at my office last Monday, there was a copy of the Sunday Winona Daily News waiting for me in the entry way. Under a front page story “Published farm subsidies stir up debate”, which listed the top 20 Winona County farm subsidy recipients from 1996-2000, was the hand written note, “What about Fillmore County?”

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a Washington D.C. based environmental research organization, has listed on their website, (www.ewg.org.), the names of farmers and the amount of money they have received in commodity payments from the U.S. Government from 1996-2000.

The EWG, using U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, maintains that the top 20 percent of subsidized farmers receive 84 percent of all annual payments for an average subsidy of $125,017 per year. The information is broken down by state, county and town and itemized in groups of twenty in descending order from the most money received to the least.

Presumably, the writer of that note on the Winona Daily News wants the Journal to publish the top 20 subsidized farmers in Fillmore County; or perhaps all 1911 farmers and how they received $86,784,160 in farm payments over that five year period.

Well, I am ambivalent about doing that. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a fan of the present Freedom to Farm package that has created this entitlement program for farmers. Nor am I seeking some moral high ground on principle here.

Quite frankly, I am not convinced that printing the name of an individual farmer who receives money from the government, as a deficiency payment between the fair market price and the price processors are willing to pay, contributes to the greater debate about farm policy in this country.

I keep asking myself, “How is this news? How does listing farmer’s names get at the heart of what’s wrong about farm policy in America? How does it lead to discussions about farming methods, erosion, flood control and stewardship of the land?”

Republican Senator Richard Lugar, formerly the head of the Senate Agricultural Committee, in a New York Times article this spring, said that federal farm policy has nothing to do with food security and called government subsidies to farmers nothing more than “transfer payments”.

One of the rolls of government is to fulfill the common good of its people. Things like roads and schools come t .....
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Foods Weekly Ads

Fri, Jan 4th, 2002
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Submit a Letter to the Editorhere

Fri, Jan 4th, 2002
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To the Editor,
Monday, January 7, 2002

To the Editor,

I’m researching ISAAC N. FRY, who won the Congressional Medal of Honor during the Civil War. Records of that era are vague and incomplete and about all that’s known for ce ..... 
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Vernon H. Vigeland

Fri, Jan 4th, 2002
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Vernon H. Vigeland, 77, of LaCrosse, Wis., formerly of Mabel, Minn. died March 12, 2001 at the Green Lea Manor Nursing Home in Mabel where he had resided for only a week.

Vernon was born September 5, 1923 in Preble Township, Fillmore County, M ..... 
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Gladys Judith Swain

Fri, Jan 4th, 2002
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Gladys Judith Swain, 93, of Rushford, a homemaker, died March 7, 2001 at her home.

Gladys Judith Williams was born May 15, 1907, on the Humble farm at Highland Prairie, moved to North Dakota with her family when she was 3 months old and retu ..... 
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Ronald Thorson

Fri, Jan 4th, 2002
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Ronald Thorson, 65, of rural Mabel, a retired Lockheed Corp. employee, died April 28, 2001 at Winneshiek County Memorial Hospital in Decorah, Iowa.

Ronald was born Aug. 28, 1935, in Decorah to Levi and Esther (Rotvold) Thorson. He graduated ..... 
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