Et Cetera …

Too much intervention

Farmfest is a huge event every year in Minnesota, in terms of turnout, public policy discussions and the future of agriculture. It also helps reminds everyone of the importance of agriculture to the state.

That said, it is troubling to hear so much focus on what the government can and will do for farmers, namely in farm bill. Certainly, farming is a risky occupation. Mitigating risk is a proper function of insurance and/or commodity markets. The depth of ongoing federal intervention baffles us, and should alarm taxpayers and farmers alike.

They should stand on own

When it comes to government involvement, one area of success touted by some speakers at Farmfest is the renewable fuels industry. We have to scoff.

When the government mandates that your product must be included in the market (as in the case of ethanol), that’s hardly a measure of success.

Biofuels may have some merit, if they can stand on their own and compete with other energy products. Yes, there are various government subsidies and mandates throughout our society, in various industries. That doesn’t make any of them right.

Farms should be proud

Where we do believe farms are being treated unfairly is in the public spotlight. Too many “public interest” groups want to attack what farmers do, such as in the production of meat and other animal products.

We agree with a media panel at Farmfest that emphasized farmers getting out there and telling their stories. About how well they actually treat animals, about how they offer products that whole world needs and enjoys. Farmers should recognize that in the era in which we live, public pressure matters and those other groups are quite willing to shape it. They must too.

Looking to cut costs

Yes, this editorial page rails against big government. That’s because government in our society is out of control, and the people are growing too dependent on it.

At the local level, many things governments must do are mandated from above, even as local governments actually deliver some important services.

Still, it is good to hear local officials talk about trimming budgets, for the benefit of taxpayers. Martin County Commission chairman Elliot Belgard this week did just that, encouraging colleagues to think in terms of fewer costs. Kudos, Mr. Chairman.