McClaughry: Sen. Welch’s Small Farmers’ Bill

by John McClaughry

Every once in a while, I take a look at the bills introduced by my friend Sen. Peter Welch. As one might expect, any such search turns up a lot of expensive and/or unworkable liberal foolishness like the Green New Deal, but once in a while I find one that can win my support.

Such a one is the Fairness for Small Farmers and Ranchers bill that Sen. Welch introduced on July 28. It has to do with a lot of complicated agriculture regulations and antitrust law, and I confess I am about 40 years out of date from when I ran the Cabinet Council on Food and Agriculture for President Reagan.

But the thrust of the bill is to shine Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission spotlights on agribusiness mergers that work to the disadvantage of family farms, extend support for local and regional food projects, promote transparency and fair contracting practices in transactions between big agribusiness and farmers and ranchers, and authorize USDA rural development grants to fund small meat processing facilities.

The bill authorizes $100 million over five years to assist beginning, retiring and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, which is the kind of provision liberals always have to add to satisfy their clamoring interest groups.

But all in all, it’s a good thing that our Senator is focusing on helping small farmers and ranchers prosper in a world of anticompetitive agribusiness mergers.

The author, a Kirby resident, is founder and vice-president of the Ethan Allen Institute. To read all EAI news and commentary, go to

Categories: Commentary

3 replies »

  1. Leave small farmers alone…as soon as the government sticks it’s boney evil finger into the pie it ruins everything… no good comes from government interference. Check out our education system or health care or transportation (roads and Bridges)… “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” Good luck small farmers.

  2. I agree with “kingdomdweller582”. There is no way anyone in politics would actually do something beneficial to the populace unless it was more beneficial to themselves, their cronies or bottom line, their collective wallet. Not possible. We might not be able to see immediately how that might be possible, but trust me, it will be in the long run. It always does. I say, if you want to benefit farmers let’s burn down the infrastructure and bring us back to the early 1800’s. That will weed out those who are not resilient, which is a majority of the weakened population, demonstrate those who are adaptable and reset the field a little. Which is what we need. Sometimes you have to demolish the structure before you can renovate it. This is the way of nature. I’m not fomenting violence, chaos or conspiracy, I’m just stating the natural law of nature and observation.

  3. The sentiments expressed in these replies are relevant.

    In an attempt to find Sen. Welch’s Small Farmer’s Bill, it became clear to me that legislation on this specific subject has been ongoing since at least as far back as 1989 (more than 30 years ago). And there have been myriad adjustments of the legislation over the interim, including this proposed recent permutation. So, my question, or my point, is: what makes anyone think this variation of government assistance (i.e., meddling) is worthy of support?

    Where can I find the bill’s text, as introduced?

    Of the $100 Million allocated in this case, how much goes to fund the bureaucracy and special interest lobbyists?

    And why aren’t the past legislative ‘protections’ already working? Consider the Sherman Anti-Trust Law that – “outlaws every contract, combination, or conspiracy in restraint of trade,” and any “monopolization, attempted monopolization, or conspiracy or combination to monopolize.”

    Or could this proposed act be more subterfuge?

    John, can you tell us where to find a link to the bill’s text, as introduced?

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