The great Merle Haggard once had a song called “Are the Good times Really Over for Good?” The tune wondered sadly if America’s best days are in the past.
I thought of the song after listening to area farm group leaders talk about the U.S. House passage of its version of the new farm bill. Some of the leaders dislike the House legislation, others flat-out detest it. They’ve worked for two years to get a new farm bill, and what they got in the House is far different from they want.
It’s no secret that U.S. farmers are a small minority in America. It’s also no secret that farmers, especially ones in the Midwest, traditionally have enjoyed political clout in Washington, D.C., that far exceeds their small numbers. (Farmers would argue that’s a good thing, that it’s a big reason why the United States has a safe, affordable food supply. Critics of the the U.S. farm program would argue otherwise.)
Is the House vote Thursday another sign of lost political clout for Midwest farmers? Are the good times really over for good?
Drop me a line and let me know what you think.
And let me know where you rank Merle Haggard on the list of country music singers. Top 50? Top 20? Top 10?