Today the Senate Agriculture Committee is holding a hearing titled "Challenges and Opportunities Facing American Agricultural Producers". There have been some good comments, some bad comments, and some downright annoying comments. I'll try to get some direct quotes when they actually post the transcript and audio recordings. Senator Roberts of Kansas (along with other Senators) spoke at some length about the recent Washington Post Harvesting Cash series, which has exposed waste, fraud and abuse of farm programs. There have been some flaws in the series, but overall it has been very well written and an important contribution to the farm bill debate. Anwyay, Senator Roberts expressed frustration with the series, claiming it distorted the reality of farming today, and here's a quick paraphrase of his next comment:
We need to support the farmers that produce the food and fiber of this country. The Washington Post series has talked a lot about 5 foot 3 inch hobby farmers from Vermont. In Kansas, we have 6 foot 2 inch farmers with 10,000 acres who are actually producing the food and fiber for this country and the world, and we need to support production agriculture.
Again, let me emphasize I'm paraphrasing here. But he definitely mentioned Vermont hobby farmers, the 5' 3" vs. 6'2" thing, and how 10,000 acre farms should be supported.
So 10,000 acre farms are a good thing, hobby farmers stink, Vermont doesn't do much in the way of farming, and they're all a bunch of munchkins anyway. Boy, Roberts is a real friend of agriculture and rural communities, isn't he?