1989 - Volume #13, Issue #4, Page #19[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Farmer turns down government supportEven if you drive by at 65 mph, you can't miss the message painted on a big silage bag on Bill Bergfeld's farm in eastern Iowa. It reads: "THIS FARM DOES NOT GET GOVERNMENT PAYMENTS".
The Peosta, Iowa farmer is an outspoken critic of government programs and one of only 5% of the farmers in his county (Dubuque) who receive nothing from the government. Nationwide about 25% of farmers don't participate in government programs.
Bergfeld painted the sign this spring because he got accused by some of his neighbors and friends of participating in the drought-relief program last year when 4 rows of corn were left standing on a neigh-boring farm's drought test plot. People thought the standing corn was actually on Bergfeld's farm.
The only money Bergfeld says he ever received from the government was 5 years ago when he got $2,500 from the Soil Conservation Service for a tiling project. He had never accepted money before that and he hasn't since.
"I think that if you can't make it without government payments you should get out of farming. Other businesses don't get subsidized," Bergfeld told FARM SHOW, adding that he blames government programs for low commodity prices. "They want to control farmers to keep food cheap. If they subsidize us, they can tell us what do do."
Bergfeld raises hogs, beef, and dairy cows on about 600 acres.
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