This is farm country. Big farm country. Farming is an important business here.
But all is not well in farming. Corn and soybean production is exceeding demand. Farm profits continue to be vulnerable.
While the politics of the farm bill are focused on production and market factors, our farm economy is part of a larger national/global economic system, a system that is becoming more dysfunctional.
The nub of that dysfunction is that corporate and financial institution wealth is being concentrated in fewer hands, nowadays known as that very rich and politically powerful 1 percent.
The nature of that dysfunction is that money is more and more being used just to create more money through more investing. Less wealth is being reinvested into producing goods and services that people need.
Thus, money is no longer healthily circulating up and down Main Street into local businesses like it did in the 1960s. Some local municipalities and school districts are feeling the financial crunch due to a lessening tax base.
In other words, we've shifted from a robust industrial capitalism to an insecure system of finance capitalism (or as David Korten names it, "suicide capitalism").
The main reason for that shift is the changes that have happened to our tax code since the early 1980s. That tax code is once again being "reformed," but early indications are that the overall net result is wealth will continue to be more heavily concentrated (and hence "stagnated") at the top. The economic benefits of that tax reform will not help our rural farming communities.
We do have a chance to re-shape that much needed tax reform. That's why it's crucial that our Congressman Collin Peterson hear from us. It's crucial that he receive our support for his standing up to the needs of people in rural farming communities.