Michigan Farmers Are Under Siege: Rising Costs and Bad Policies

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Some area farmers are under siege. Decisions are being made regarding the dire outlook for farming in Monroe County, Michigan. Will farmers be forced to sell to developers?

The Indianapolis Star reports, “Regardless of what the national inflation numbers say, it cost the farmer about 40% more to grow the crop this year … compared to two years ago,” said Chad Lee, an agronomy professor at the University of Kentucky. “The price of essentially every aspect of farming — seed, fertilizer, fuel, equipment, etc. — has continued to tick upward, and by startling amounts. Some farmers have seen costs double and triple, and that’s if they can even get the supplies they need.”

On March 14, 2022, the Ottawa Lake Co-Op invited Congressman Tim Walberg to speak to area farmers concerned about rising fertilizer and energy costs affecting farmers’ livelihoods. The career politician reacted with his usual partisan finger-pointing, blathering on about his noncommittal solutions. The facts are, Walberg sits on the Federal Energy Committee making decisions affecting these farmers all the time. The congressman voted on Dec. 3, 2015, to repeal the ban on exporting American oil (North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act) allowing world competition to raise energy prices here at home. Not an American First policy!

We watch as our American energy is siphoned off to China, and now Europe, affecting all of us with inflation. No energy independence here! Walberg’s been a big promoter of natural gas export pipelines and LNG export terminals, also central to raising prices for American and farmer energy needs. In May, he voted against the Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act, which would have controlled obscene industry profits. Recent political mailings have him promoting increased fossil fuel production while doing little for green energy that cannot be exported and could serve as a possible alternative for local farmers’ incomes. The duplicity is breathtaking!

As area farmers struggle to make a living, we have the local faction of the international No to Solar crowd spreading false information to those who have no idea they are being used by this AstroTurf organization. Recently the specter of this misinformation showed its ugly head in LaSalle Township where the Township Planning Commission had hammered out a reasonable solar ordinance over the last year.

Under pressure from the uninformed and armed with targeted misinformation, at the last minute fearful board members changed the zoning to an exclusionary ordinance that will never allow farmers to augment their beleaguered incomes with clean solar energy.

Furthermore, it seems the area doesn’t see the coming problems that energy inflation and a decommissioned Monroe power plant will have on local taxes. People who aren’t paying attention need to see the bigger picture that will affect them soon.

No other industry of size will rescue Monroe County from its coming self-inflicted problems.

Reposted from The Monroe News with minor edits.

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Paul Wohlfarth lives in Riga Township Michigan and is a Chrysler UAW retiree with 31 years of service. He is a green energy advocate who owns an American-made plug-in Hybrid and powers his home with solar.

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