Thursday Roundup: Organic Farm Costs

Flying pickled pigs feet and the ‘mama bear’ defense • Over 4,100 postmasters will retire by end of September • Obama fails to win over white working class voters.


this is a protest: A woman in Harlan County, Kentucky, tossed some jars of pickled pigs feet through the window of the Loyall Kwik Mart to protest how the owner of shop had treated her son. 

She employed the Sarah Palin defense, that she was just like a mama bear defending her cub.

• Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that Congress will extend a $12 million federal tax credit for wind energy projects that is due to expire at the end of this year. 

“We will get it done before the end of the year, I’m very confident,” Reid said during a press conference on the sidelines of the fifth-annual Clean Energy Summit. “We may even get this done before the election,” he said.

• A New York Times/CBS poll finds that the Obama campaign has been unable to shake Republican dominance among white working class voters — and that Romney has not been able to make many inroads among women who support the Democrat. 

The poll was conducted in six swing states: Colorado, Virginia, Wisconsin, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. “White working class” was defined as those without college degrees with household incomes between $30,000 and $100,000.

• Over 4,100 postmasters will retire during the first 8 months of the year, according to a Postal Service report. Save The Post Office reports that 3,800 took the $20,000 retirement incentive by the end of July; the rest will retire by the end of September. 

Save The Post Office says it has collected news articles about 50 postmasters who retired at the end of July. STPO observers:

The articles, by the way, are worth reading.  They show how much the postmaster is valued in a small town and how sorry people are to bid farewell.  They provide a glimpse into a world that’s being stamped out by POStPlan.

• A new study finds, “Contrary to expectations, certified organic farmers do not earn significantly higher household income than conventional farmers.” 

The study was conducted by two Louisiana State University economists and published in Ecological Economics. 

The economists compared farm incomes of organic growers and conventional farmers. They found that organic growers earned higher revenues, but they had higher costs, spending “significantly more on labor, insurance, and marketing charges than conventional farmers.”

The economists said their “results suggest that the lack of economic incentives can be an important barrier to conversion to organic farming.”

• Gallup has listed the best states to live in. The polling organization used 13 measurements, stuff like smoking rates, employment and the perceptions of residents about whether things are getting better or worse.

The “best” states, in order, are Utah, Minnesota, Colorado, Nebraska, North Dakota, Virginia, Iowa, Hawaii, South Dakota and Maryland. 

Healthcare Finance News interviews John Cornell, CEO of a 64-bed rural hospital in Vidalia, Georgia, about what money issues are most pressing for institutions like his. “Our biggest challenge has to do with physician recruitment and retention,” says Cornell. He also discusses the costs of improving quality, aligning with regional hospitals, updating aging facilities, and providing indigent care.

• Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill (a Democrat) will meet U.S. Rep. Todd Akin in the general election in November. 

Akin beat several better funded candidates, helped by ads from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee — and by Democratic ads that painted him as the most conservative of the three Republicans, a thinly veiled attempt to lure more conservative voters to the polls. McCaskill believed she had a better chance of defeating Akin than the other two Republicans in the race. 

Now ag groups in the state will have to choose between McCaskill, a Democrat they have opposed, and Akin, a more doctrinaire Republican who could be inclined to cut crop subsidies.

“This is going to be about reclaiming our God-given values, rebuilding the American dream and restoring the America that we love,” Akin said. “And so this is going to be a sharp contrast.”