Innovative ways to stimulate the economy: Subsidize small farmers, not corporate farms


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A local farmer and friend, Chrissie Zaerpoor, is known as one of the new farming celebrities. She raises truly free-range chickens for meat and eggs, and grass-fed dairy cows, and she and her husband have a big problem: the government's subsidies and programs are aligned against them. When the two former engineers went out to look for a loan to buy their farm property in Yamhill County, Oregon, they were told to try for a loan on a country estate instead; no one wants to finance a small farm in this economy. Anyone who's watched King Corn or read Michael Pollan's books on food knows that the real money -- and the real government support -- is for big "monoculture" farms selling one of the major commodity crops, chiefly corn, soy, and cotton.