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[Question:] "How important were government programs throughout this time period, and how important are they now?"
     "They were critical in those times. That was how they even stayed, the operations even stayed going at that time was between the farm storage and the farm payments. There just wasn't any of the income that we're looking at with the opportunities on the ethanol plant that we have today. That's what kept them going, kept the farms going.
     "Today, it's changed some. We see some good prices right now. We know that probably next year we're going see higher input prices whether it be fertilizer and fuel. And so we don't know what that'll look like next year. We see some high prices [for commodities] today, but we don't know where that'll take us. Maybe that's a level that'll balance out the following year. We know that land prices are higher and we know taxes are higher and the rents are higher as well as all the machinery and things that we use."
     [Question:] "There have been some stories about how individual farming operations are getting very large government payments, and I understand it that's your situation, that's part of your situation. Tell me about that."
     "You know, like I say, there's four families operating together. We work together. This is our only source of income is farming. The payments seem big, but as you divide the acres to the amount of people and what it takes, the amount of machinery and the debt and things that we carry every year to have an income, that's just kind of what it is…
     "Well, the farm program was set up for the farm, and I guess I see that the farmers that are 100 percent actively farming, I mean, that's the program that's in place. And I guess I don't know that there's any of them that are really living that highly. I mean there's a lot of debt and a lot of risk that they take on every year. And they pay a lot of taxes and support the community with all the inputs that they buy."

Mark Kaliff – Government Subsidies

   

Excerpts from Mark & Valerie’s Interview:

Farms Growing Bigger
The Bust of the 80s
Women on the Farm
Rural Lifestyles Today
Mysteries in the Country
Growing Monocultures
Efficiencies with Pivots
Mining Groundwater
Farm Equipment Innovation
Tractor Technology
Conservation Tillage
Computers on the Farm