Patty from Butte, MT

Faces of the Federal Budget

When they give those subsidies to the corn and other farmers, I guess it does and it doesn't affect me. Because when I can produce a product at a cheaper price because I am able to buy certain things at a cheaper price, then I can pass that savings on to whoever is buying it. And I guess that’s what I see with the farm bill. Even though they may be giving some of that to larger operations, then the farmers are able to pass that down, which in the end, then I’m able to receive some of that, whether it’s in the food that I eat or in the food that I give to my animals. We do not understand how good we have it. Our food is pretty cheap considering what other countries pay.

We do not get that kind of aid from the farm bill. Not like the farmers do. … If I have a calf die, I receive nothing for that. It’s a loss for me. … [but] I don’t depend on the ranch to sustain my life. I’m a teacher, so that income takes care of everything. … So, I guess if somebody was depending on that money just to make a living, they would probably see it differently than I do. I don’t borrow from anybody, I don’t want anybody to pay for my stuff, I don’t look for any subsidies, like food stamps, government payments or anything like that. I don’t want any of that stuff. So I probably wouldn't use it [even if it were available].

The milk industry has a different type of government program that is important to keep those farmers in business. We are losing too many dairies because the cost to produce is higher than the cost brought in. I don’t think anyone would work in an hourly wage job for a loss yet we expect farmers/ranchers too.

I live in a mining town. And there were three copper kings. One of them … died in the 60s when [his daughter] was a young girl. Just recently, [she] died. … She was 104 years old and still had 4 million dollars and mansions all over the place. This guy made mega bucks out of this town. And that could make you mad, but at the same time, because of him, we now have running water in our house and electricity because that’s where the copper went. And the people in Butte have had a good, decent living and they were taken care of (but I have to say they were taken care of because of unions) – maybe not like people think they should’ve – but [those businesses] still did some good things for us, so it kind of makes you look on the other side.

I've thought a lot about this because it does make you mad when “the rich” -as they call it- get tax breaks, but if they don’t get those tax breaks, are they willing to do some of the things that they do, which benefit us? I guess I wish that they would pay decent wages to the people that are working for them to make them rich, but I’m not the businessman here, so I don’t know how you’d get them to do that. But if I was on that other end, I would probably see things differently, too. Those are the people taking the risks.

Patty from Butte, MT | Map

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