Thursday, July 22, 2010

Rand Paul Stumbles on Farm Subsidies

Journalists from around the state have reported that Rand Paul doesn't believe his position on farm subsidies will hurt his bid to be Kentucky's next U.S. Senator. Ivan Potter at the West Kentucky Journal of Politics has written a good piece regarding Paul's visit to the Cayce Community in the Purchase Area. The Potter's also pointed out a report on farm subsidies by Bill Estep and Halimah Abdullah of the Lexington Herald-Leader for which I found very interesting.

After reading the Herald-Leader story I decided to investigate farm subsidies and what they mean to farmers in West Kentucky. I have broken down a few counties to show just how important they are. For a man who was looking at a pretty easy ride to a U.S. Senate Seat I find it hard to believe that Rand Paul blew this one. I'm reminded of the comedian Ron White when he says, "You can't fix stupid". Ryan Alessi of CN/2 politics released their poll on the U.S. Senate Race which shows Paul only leading 41% to 38% with 19% undecided. I think Paul is pushing conservative farm families away from him into the undecided column.

In my analysis of farm subsidies recipients from 1995-2009 I have found the following:These are how West Kentucky counties are ranked in Kentucky according to the amount each county has received.I have rounded down to the nearest million.

#1 Christian Co. $172 m
#2 Graves Co. $146 m
#3 Logan Co. $129 m
#4 Henderson Co. $103 m
#5 Union Co. $103 m
#6 Todd Co. $89 m
#7 Calloway Co. $78 m
#8 Hickman Co. $75 m
#10 Webster Co. $71 m
#15 Fulton Co. $54 m
#16 Caldwell Co. $52 m
#17 Hopkins Co. $52 m
#18 Ballard Co. $50 m
#20 Carlisle Co. $45 m
#21 Trigg Co. $41 m

In 2009 Kentucky recieved $246 million in federal farm subsidies. The First Congressional Distirict recieved the most with $89,423,050.

Upon further review I decided to see how many families these subsidies effect. I broke down four counties and was surprised by just how many farm families might take issue with Rand Paul's stance on farm subsidies.

From 1995-2009 these are the number of farms, farmers and Incorporated farms that have received farm subsidies:

Christian County
-Hopkinsivlle: 2,012
-Crofton: 454
-Pembroke: 259
-Lafayette: 5

Trigg County
-Cadiz: 1,064
-Cerulean: 195
-Canton: 1
-Gracey: 20

Todd County
-Elkton: 791
-Trenton: 256
-Guthrie: 208

Caldwell County
-Princeton: 1,292
-Fredonia: 318

By my count that's 6,693 farms that employee and feed people in just 4 counties. That 6,693 farms that buy gas, equipment, tractors, trucks, feed and seed. 6,693 farms that employee people who buy cars, houses, lumber and I think you get the point.

Jack Conway stated at the Kentucky Farm Bureau debate the other night that he was a committed supporter of farm subsidies while Rand Paul could not give that strong of a commitment.Rand Paul might have considered that family values also means feeding our families, providing jobs and maintaining our local economies.

As farmers like to say, "Don't talk with your mouth full".

{statistics were taken from the Farm Subsidy Database at the Environmental Working Group website}.


Westkyguy said...

Talk to farmers and I think you'll be suprised at how many of them wouldn't be upset if subsidies went away...

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