Letter: Get your farmer and farm bill facts straight

Regarding Walter Nicklin’s editorial (“Of farms and fiscal policy,” Jan. 30) and his rather confusing and misguided criticism of both Congressman Robert Hurt and the recent Farm Bill: He discussed the “lavish subsidies” contained in the bill, ignoring the fact that the bill eliminates direct payments made to agricultural producers and consolidates a number of duplicative federal programs, saving billions in taxpayer dollars.

He also appears unaware that the vast majority of bill is devoted to the SNAP program, i.e. food stamps, which has experienced significant fraud and abuse in recent years. The bill contains a number of reforms to eliminate said fraud and abuse, but the publisher ignores that important detail as well. I personally have hounded our legislators to separate these programs.

Mr. Nicklin also alleges that Congressman Hurt does not support small farms, citing some mysterious organization called Food Policy Action. I would suggest that he talk to actual farmers about the challenges they face, such as skyrocketing energy costs, rising feed prices, costs for pesticides and burdensome government regulations, and then consider Mr. Hurt’s record on these issues that actually impact rural Virginia. Hurt understands what helps small farmers succeed and acts in their best interests, earning the “Friend of Farm Bureau” (of which I am a member) award for his voting record. Next time, the publisher should get his facts straight rather than launch false attacks.

William Freitag
Flint Hill

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