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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 9, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta The cost of eating Governments protect farmers, consumers Tuesday, October 9, 1973 THE LETHBRIOGE HERALD 21 Staff cuts in prospect WASHINGTON (API A crucial altt-rinath of the United Slates' massive- 1972 gram exports is the emptying of once-bulbing government storage development which spells trouble for the American consumer and the small luimer In the fiscal year which end- ed June :JO. US. agricultural exports increased 61 per cent. The key to this boom was SI.2 billion in grain sold to the Soviet Union 'I think the chief benefit is we've got the Tinted States government out of the com- moditv business.' Agriculture Secrelui v Earl said in an interview 'I don't think the government belongs in the comrnoditv business In response to the export gram drain, the government released almost all its stocks The trouble i1- that farmeis have onK limned sioruge ca- pacih More llu'ir fuili" of the storage capacity in major 1" S gram-shipping ports is held by six big grain com- panies II the government doesn t si ore surplus grain it winds up in the hands ol a lew giant agribusiness corporations The government s corn- m oil 11 v prog! a m has protected the consumer as well >i> the farmer In levell- ing out the natural fluctua- tions ol agriculture Hv buvmg up surplus crops in vears ol overproduction, it has kept many farmers in business Bv .--tot ing these sur- pluses and releasing them in poor crop '.ears it has soften- ed !he price i isc !o con- sumer s During tire LiM veai when the export explosion drained domes! ic supplies and (r n- menl reserves (lie consumer lell (lie lull impact ol this lost protection wrtll record lood prices Covernmenl mlicials say spend less than IK per i out i'f then- disposable m- ome mi loud This Average lumps millionaiies with pau- per s To spend Id per cent on lood an ican would have to cle.ir S17 alter taxes for ,i lamilv ol lour Such a larnrh uilh SH Ififo in disposable in- come spends an average ol 27 fi per cent ol it on food Families clearing less can pay hall or more ol their income lor 11'oil Meanwhile the larmer hasn t been netting a propor- tionate share of the extra fare p.ud bv the housewife The retail pi ice ol lood increased 4.1 per cent horn 1952 to 1972 but the prii e paid to the larmer went up onlv six per cent Three million larmers have none out of business since the Second War and while tanners get lewer the I arms get larger and production more concentrated Bv HW1) the agriculture de- partment estimates there will be one million lull-lime l.irmeis left, with lh'8 000 of them producing more than three-filths ol total sales The Xmei'K an larmer s worst problem has been his ef- liciencv Me produced so much lood that there weren't enough customers to buv it all The new nave of exports has revoiscd that for some larmois and mav be the answer lor tho if the new demand holds and However, while world short- ages ol giain and other pro- tein sources are expected to continue for the foreseeable future there is no Guarantee thev will remain as high as the demand which brought the record exports of 1972 Bumper crops around the world one vear could deliver a smashing blow to an American agriculture turned to all-out production Minimum prices set in new legislation are well above the market prices prevailing last vear belore the export boom but also well below the current market A tanner mortgaged on the expectation ol or wheat would be iir.ncd if the price falls to the 05 tai get level The winners would be the big agribusiness corporations which could absorb the loss until all the competition from independent farmers was gone Price-support payments, based on volume and acreage put a premium on bigness From 60 to 70 per cent of the subsidies have gone to the top 15 per cent of the farms responsible for most produc- tion The roster at the agriculture department sounds like a Who's Who of the agribusiness corporations. Secretary Bulz was on the boards of Ralston Purina. Stokelv-Van Camp. J 1 Case and Intel national Minerals and Chemical Corp. before joining the a d mimstiation s predecessor Clifford Hardin. resigned to become vice-chairman of the board at Halston Purina. Clarence Palmby was Washington lobbyist tor the grain trade belore becoming assistant secretary ot agriculture in charge ol gram p r o g r a m s He h e 1 p e d negotiate the Russian wheat sale and then became vice- president of Continental Cram the lirrn which later sold i he biggest order to Russia The list L'oes on and of it illegal but all ol it illustrating the close iies between government and agribusiness The agribusiness theorv is that large-scale corporate farms supply more ant! belter lood at lower puces But gov- ernment studies have shown that one-and two-man family farms are just as efficient as the larger operations and that hall ol the bigger farms ac- tually repot t net losses. But the trend is toward con- centrated production Already some 70 per cent of production comes from the largest 15 per cent of the far ms Tax-loss tanning in the United States is encouraged by laws which allow diver- sified conglomerates to write off larm losses against non- farm income, or deduct fairn losses one year on a product which mav not be sold until the next One ol the newer trends in agriculture is virtical in- tegration by which one corpo- ration controls most or all ol the entire chain ol production increasingly pop- ular method is contractual in- tegration F'lrmers sign an advance contract to sell a corporation their crops at a fixed price That takes the risk out lor the farmer but it also makes him little more than a hired hand on his own farm 95 per cent of proc- essed vegetables are produced under vertical or contractual integration. 85 per cent ol citrus Iruil. 80 per cent ol seed crops. 98 per cent of fluid- grade milk. 97 per cent ol broilers and 100 per cent ol sugar A Federal Trade Comrnis- Mon study says con- sumers are overx harged more billion a vear tor lood because of monopolies in 13 lood lines it studied CALGARY (CP) The University of Calgary may be forced to dismiss some academic staff as a result of the provincial government's budget policy for universities, university president Dr. A. W. R Carrothers says He told a university senate meeting that the government's July 13 an- nouncement of a six-per-cent across-the-board increase in university funding for the next two years means a two-per- cent budget reduction for the university in 1973-74 and a further 2'z-per-cent reduction in 1974-74 That is because increases in program costs far exceed the six-per-cent increase in fun- ding. Dr Carrothers said. He said support staff at the Painter A. Y. Jackson one of the founders Seven. The celebration, complete with cake, was at university has already been of the Group of Seven, celebrates his 91st birthday with Tapawmgo in Kleinberg Ont which holds the reduced 'as far as possible." ....._ and the most obvious area for Artist 91 years young A. J. Casson, 75, "the eighth member" of the Group of McMichael Conservation Collection of Art and Jackson's apartment. future cuts is in academic staff. FEELO fit I ABOUT TOMORROW WHAT DOES TOMORROW MEAN TO YOU? A good education for your children? A trip across Canada? A secure and happy retire- ment? Whatever tomorrow means to you, you can plan for it today with Canada Savings Bonds. They're Canada's most popular per- EASY TO BUY: sonal investment. For cash or on instalments at any Bank or authorized Investment Dealer, Stock Broker, Trust or Loan Company and Credit Union. And at work on the Payroll Savings Plan. They are available in amounts ranging from up to a limit of SIMPLE TO CASH: Canada Savings Bonds are instant cash. They are redeemable anytime at their full face value plus earned interest. GOOD TO KEEP: New Canada Savings Bonds yield an average of 7.54% a year when held to maturity. Each 100 Bond pays interest for the first year, for each of the next six years, for each of the following three years, and for each of the last two years. On top of this you can earn interest on your interest and make each grow to mjust 12 years. 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