Farmer’s Can’t Run For Office

That’s the suggestion of one Ohio political blogger. Scott Pullins at the Pullins Report attempts to pooh-pooh the candidacy of my good friend Fred Dailey on the basis of Director Dailey’s receipt of federal Farm Bill dollars over the course of the last decade or so. Under this type of Environmental Working Group style thinking, no farmer in America should run for political office if he’s participated in any Farm Bill program. Well, as one dung beetle said to the other, this stinks. While I’m assuming Pullins has another horse in the race, read the illogical comments he makes, and then read my response, which I’ve copied here:


Fred Dailey is a solid conservative, a distinguished public servant, and a great candidate for Congress. To address each of your concerns/allegations, I submit the following:


ODA is primarily a regulatory agency. The actions taken against those selling raw milk were taken because those farmers were operating outside of the letter and spirit of the laws and regulations regarding raw milk. The current administration felt it would be more fruitful in terms of public relations and political capital to ignore the regulatory responsibilities of the situation.


Your question about “factory farms” is flawed in its premise. You assume that large livestock operations are inherently bad, which is no more true than saying Honda’s manufacturing facilities in the state are bad. There are pros and cons to every system of production, and when managed properly, large livestock operations are no more harmful, nor are the families that own and operate them any less admirable, than any small farm in the state. That being said, Fred Dailey is no “shill” for these operations. Fred is an average sized family farmer himself, and his actions and priorities as Director facilitated the development of the most stringent permitting and enforcement regime in the country. Ohio’s large livestock operations are the most fairly and effectively permitted and regulated operations in the country. The Livestock Environmental Permitting Program has ensured that EPA doesn’t unduly burden the farmer as it had in decades past, and at the same time ensures that irresponsible operators like Buckeye Egg are put out of business. The success of this program is undeniable.


As a commenter to your post on Ohio wines noted, the money spent in Ohio to promote Ohio agricultural products (including but not limited to wine, beef, pork, lamb, corn, and soybeans) is generated not from taxpayer dollars, but from producer contributed “checkoff” funds. These funds are dedicated to industry research and promotion under the oversight of the Ohio and US Departments of Agriculture. The success of Ohio’s wine program is obvious, with the growth of the industry generating excellent economic returns for the state in terms of tax revenues and additional jobs. This isn’t corporate welfare in any sense of the word.


And the weakest charge of all is the allegation of “drinking at the trough” of federal farm subsidies. The “records” cited indicate average Farm Bill payments of roughly $2000 annually for the past decade. These could be anything from disaster payments in years of drought to conservation cost sharing funds for implementing practices designed to improve the soil, air, and water quality of the region. Neither you nor I turned down any of the Bush tax cuts, and in the same vein, no farmer should be expected to turn down federally mandated dollars designed to keep agricultural production strong in this country. Look at it this way, Scott – I spent more money last year with my attorney.


A few clicks around the Googleverse and it appears that Mr. Pullins is “shilling” for Fred’s main opponent in the 18th, Mike Carey. I guess it doesn’t hurt to blog nasty things about your friend’s political enemies.