Lindsay Mitchell

Dec 18, 2013  |  Today's News

Seventy-two percent of Americans say big government is a greater threat to the U.S. in the future than is big business or big labor.  Since we can assume that big agriculture is lumped into that big business category, Illinois corn farmers can rest assured that even though the public dislikes and fears what you’re doing, they fear the government even more.

This is a record high in the 50-year history of this question.  The prior high for big government was 65% in 1999 and 2000. Big government has always topped big business and big labor, including in the initial asking in 1965, but just 35% named it at that time.

The poll results come at a time when farmers are questioning the involvement in big government themselves.  The recent proposed rule by the EPA that lowers the amount of ethanol retailers are required to blend in 2014 effects farmers, but also stands to effect consumers, rural America and the entire U.S.

Lower the ethanol blend now, reduces market opportunities for farmers which lowers their corn prices.  Farmers that can’t make ends meet because of lower prices will come to rely on government payments or will go out of business.  Farmer profitability is important for America if we want to guarantee some measure of food security in our nation and not rely on other countries to provide food.

Similarly, a signal that America is less invested in ethanol will cause investors to think twice about investing in ethanol plants or ethanol efficiency.  Ethanol is now about $1.00 per gallon cheaper than gasoline which will hit consumers directly in the pocketbook.  Less investment in efficiencies will also stop the forward movement of renewable fuels getting better and better for the environment with more energy produced per unit of input.

Steve Forbes, president, Forbes Media, recently said in an op-ed published by the Houston Chronicle, “…American agriculture has become a magnet for negative attention from the professional, activist left. As a nation, if we are not careful, this underappreciated economic gem will cede its future to antibusiness activists who use a variety of political and regulatory ploys to substitute scare tactics for science in our food systems.”

Just another reason to fear big government and the regulations they throw around without consideration to the full impacts to the rest of the country.