The Farmers' Good Fortune

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Perhaps you should have com-missioned a farmer to write "The Growing Food Cost Crisis" [March 17].

Bruce Babcock, director of the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University, should look beyond the Iowa cornfields before saying: "I will guarantee that anyone who is farming now is making a ton more money than they were three or four years ago." Just as one would diversify a stock portfolio, farmers have to diversify their crops. Yes, corn, soybean, and wheat prices are high; however, the compensation is a drop in the bucket compared with production costs. Besides the dependency on Mother Nature, farmers are up against sky-high fuel prices, finding and keeping good workers, equipment that costs more than the average house, and fertilizer prices that have more than tripled in the past few months. And are sugar beet, potato, and onion prices, to name a few, reflecting these prohibitive overhead costs? No. Farmers understand cause and effect, supply and demand, and try to ride these waves without going under. Farmers are salt-of-the-earth people working to make an honest living. They're already up against some hard odds. An article portraying farmers as lucrative winners misinforms our nation. Come out west, and see how easy it isn't.

Dominique Etcheverry


Star, Idaho  

In "The Growing Food Cost Crisis" on Page 34, you ran a picture of a lady in Mexico City balancing a basket on her head. It was plain to see that she was carrying a basket full of ears of corn and not corncobs as the picture caption said. I got a small laugh out of that.

Nancy Cundiff


St. Bernice, Ind.