Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wasted Spending of the Day

The U.S. Agriculture Department is tasked to supply "leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management." The agency's FY2011 budget -- which begins in October -- calls for just under 100,000 full time employees (though there's one less now than last week).

The number of people working the land has dropped for decades, reflecting aging and automation of the sector. According to 2009 data in a May 14, 2010, Bureau of Labor Statistics release, actual agriculture "production" work employed only 12,480 full-time workers (of course there were other other agricultural industry jobs in construction, sales, management, hunting/fishing, etc.).

A decade ago, there was one Department of Agriculture employee for every four full-time farmers. It's now about one to eight.

[NOfP correction, July 23rd: Opps--I reversed the numbers. It was about 4 USDA employees per full-time farmer; now it's 8 USDA employees per full-time farmer. In other words, it's getting worse, not better.]

The Department spends most its allocated funds on farm subsidies. Everyone understands that this is inefficient waste. President Bush tried to cut farm subsidies--and failed.

What a waste--but, I give up, I guess.


OBloodyHell said...

Toss the bums out, until they do things right.

Should demand they pass a law requiring that all public sector jobs be cut by 50% (including local and state if they can manage it -- "commerce clause"? LOL).

Let 'em find real world jobs and stop being "Hank Kimball"s

Anonymous said...

What about the day laborers... the lettuce pickers? Dont' tell me 10,000 people pick all the lettuce in the country.

Carl said...

The figure I cited was for full-time farmers who own or lease their land, not migrant workers. The USDA hands most of its budget to such farmers, and has comparatively little interaction with lettuce pickers, who--in any event--probably aren't full-time.

suek said...

"Things are seldom what they seem..."

Check this out, and add it to all the whoopla you're hearing in the news:

(heh. Verification word is "mulasess)