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Yea Dugger Thanks for Ronnie Dugger’s article on Ranch Town backers’ attempt to exploit the environment for a profit. This time, rather than an expressway or something relatively simple, they want to pollute the greatest natural resource of South Central Texas. Dugger’s article put it together, as usual, better than the garbled reporting of the press in San Antonio. If Mr. Yantis continues in his efforts backing this boondoggle, is there no legal recourse against a man who is so obviously working against the very purpose of his some of our fine representatives in Austin will begin raising questions concerning this man’s conduct. Bert Clayton, 115 E. Magnolia Ave., San Antonio, Tex. 78212. On price supports I was sorry to find the article, “Agri-welfare”, in the May 11 issue`of The Texas Observer. Normally, the material content published in your magazine shows careful analysis and consideration, and is an example of excellent “liberal” reporting. 32 The Texas Observer It was a disappointment that the author, Paul Slater, quoted a big city congressman as his expert. One could hardly expect a large city congressman fighting to rehabilitate his inner city, feed, clothe and provide adequate medical assistance for his impoverished constituents, to be sympathetic to the very real and pressing needs of rural areas. Mr. Conte’s so-called “honor role” contains the names of many of the members of our organization here in the state. By no stretch of the imagination can the family farmers who compose the bulk of the Texas Farmers Union be considered “rich-on-welfare”. It doesn’t take a vast estate to earn federal farm program assistance payments in excess of $20,000, because the payments are earned on a multitude of commodities. Many farmers will produce from three to six different commodities in a year. Neither is the federal farm program assistance all profit. To use one commodity as an example, cotton production costs for producers here in Texas average around 30c per pound as a minimum. Most cotton producers associated with our organization received less than 20c per pound for their cotton at the marketplace. Some of them received as low as 11 c per pound for their crop. The federal farm program assistance payment is termed a “price-support” payment, and is designed to bridge the .gap between market price for the commodity and a “reasonable” return. This is set at 15c per pound. A little simple math work will show you that cotton farmers receiving farm program assistance are not receiving “welfare-for-the-rich”. In fact, with a little bad luck, cotton producers can’t even break even with federal assistance. This example for cotton holds true for most other commodities, although they are possibly not as extreme. Under the 1970 Farm Act, producers are paid for disparities between a market price and a “reasonable” return. They have received few payments for “not growing” crops. Since the high cost of food has been brought up in the article also, I would like to quote some statistics taken from the FU Washington Newsletter showing the disparity between cattle prices received by producers as compared with prices received by other sectors of the economy. Since 1950, if prices received by farmers for cattle had risen at the same rate as: First-class postage, cattle would now bring$72.00 per cwt. Hourly wages, cattle would now bring$80.69 per cwt. Cost of having a baby, cattle would now bring$119.30 per cwt. Hospital care costs, cattle would now bring$179.69 per cwt. Of course, any housewife realizes that there must be a price spread between the farmer and the retail outlet to take care of all of the stages of food preparation and packaging in the food distribution chain. It is totally inconsistent to, blame farmers with high food prices, as it would be to blame the steel worker for high automobile prices. Too many other people have a hand on the end product to blame either the farmer or the steel worker for the end price of a product which bears little resemblance to their activity. The general essence of the article, of course, is debatable as to whether the state of Texas should be receiving federal farm program assistance which was originally intended to maintain our family farm system of agriculture and keep our agricultural resources as widely dispersed in the hands of as many people as possible, but the question of whether the state of Texas should be receiving government payments should not subject the entire concept to reproach. Mike M c M an igal, administrative assistant, Texas Farmers Union, 800 Lake Air Dr., Waco, Tex. 76710. Minds unfree In the months since the elections, the Observer has given me little other than a biweekly adrenaline high. Let me count the ways: Your insufferably cute, sometimes downright precious style, used in supercilious swipes at Republicans and conservative Democrats, in lieu of solid facts; your inaccurate assessments of the news-gathering and -publishing policies of newspapers with those whose editorial stands you disagree; your apparent conviction that Austin and the University of Texas constitute ‘the hub, if not the whole, of the Universe; your smug, stereotyping put-downs of Texas A&M and Aggies all of these are such affronts to my intelligence that they offset your sporadically excellent reporting. The voices of your journal may be free, but your minds evidently are not. John W. Fuller, 4141 McKinney, Dallas, Tex. 75204. Inferior product November the seventh, ’72, wasn’t the first time Madison Avenue sold the American public a grossly inferior product but I sure as hell hope it is the last time in this particular category. Brooks Walling, 424 Lookout St., Lake Elsinore, Calif. 92330. Send cash To all good Republicans who contributed their fat cat dollars to the Watergate and related undercover work: I now suggest you send much more to the “Paddle Fund” in care of R.M.N., up a creek and needs your blind support again. Jerry Jenkins, Texas A&I University, Kingsville, Tex.