Friday, April 15, 2016

Pick Your Poison

When farmers overproduce, taxpayers and consumers pay the price

Time for some copy-and-paste and a short rant; stuff like this drives me crazy.

From Patrick Whittle of Associated Press:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will buy up to 30 million pounds of wild blueberries to help stabilize prices and supply in one of Maine’s signature industries. The members of Maine’s congressional delegation told The Associated Press on Thursday that the agency will pay up to $13 million for the wild blueberries. The bailout could help spell the end of low prices to consumers on wild blueberries, which are harvested commercially in Maine and Canada ... 
Nancy McBrady, executive director of the [wild] blueberry commission, said the low value of the Canadian dollar also has hurt Maine’s growers. She said Canadian growers, which are centered in the Maritime Provinces, are at a “tremendous competitive advantage” when selling in the U.S. and internationally because of the stronger U.S. dollar. “And the competition from cultivated blueberries is omnipresent,” she said. “The prices of wild blueberries have dropped, so our farmers are earning less for our blueberries” ... 
Rep. Chellie Pingree said the purchase will help the blueberry industry as well as food assistance programs in need of a healthy fruit product. “It makes a lot of sense for the federal government to make this purchase to help ease the surplus of frozen blueberries and at the same time supply food assistance programs with a very healthy, high quality food,” she said.
So let me get this straight: USDA is spending tax dollars to reverse consumers' good fortune because wild blueberry farmers harvested too much causing the price of wild blueberries to fall by a third? Yup. American agriculture: the epitome of the free market.

Welcome to the Land of Plenty – but not too much plenty 'cause it will cost you plenty in the end.