Jul
19
2014

Tips For Choosing The Best Anti Snoring Pillows And Mouthpieces

cbaspWhen endeavoring to choose the best anti snoring pillow, you have to consider the comfort that you can get. Snoring pillows are usually formed in a way that the neck will be realigned into its proper position. Manufacturers often make it comfortable to the users, especially those who snore a lot. Thus, if you cannot find comfort in the pillow you are choosing, better find another one. Second, look for quality anti snoring pillows. Some of the pillows are made with delicate materials that make it expensive so if you want the best, always take time to choose the right quality. Do not be lured by positive reviews posted on the internet because it might just be bias; that is why, you have to take time to look for the quality of the product before buying it.

Third, consider the price of these specialized pillows. Cheap does not always mean low quality and expensive does not always mean the best. Sometimes, the best snoring pillow comes in an affordable price. If you are just careful in choosing and researching, you will always have the best product that suits your budget. Take some time to review the different brands of anti snoring pillows that are out there. A good site is here.

A Reliable Good Morning Snore Solution Review

If you are planning to buy the product, you should really read a Good Morning Snore solution review first. Basically, there are numerous reviews posted out there nowadays and it is usually a mixture of positive and negative opinions. In order to filter out the most reliable reviews, whether you’re talking about snoring mouthpieces, or any anti snoring device the right thing that you have to do is to read it from an established website when it comes to snoring devices (this one is a good choice). This means that you should not be reading any review of different websites because some of them are just plainly fabricated. As much as possible, you have to research on what website you can find the most reliable review so that you can clearly identify the pros and cons of the GMSS.

A good review usually involves a positive and negative note. It should come from a buyer who has truly experienced the product, and not just read it somewhere else. Always take time to assess the credibility of the website, as well as the contributor of the review. If it is something suspicious, better find another review that can be helpful to you. Through this way, you can guarantee that the best good morning snore solution review is obtained.

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Jul
16
2014

Home Remedies For Panic Attacks That Really Work

hrfpdSedatives are often used by patients who suffer from panic attacks. Instead of buying a classical sedatives in drug stores, try finding home remedies for panic attacks like chamomile tea or valerian tincture. There are also other remedies that help with emotional problems.

Lavender is well known for its soothing effect. Lavender essential oil has nice scent that can make person less depressed. Some European studies have shown that lavender pills have reduced the symptoms that usually occur at anxious people. Unfortunately, these pills are not available in United States, but the Internet has made possible to purchase things made far away. Beside natural sedatives, there are also other natural remedies that can be taken by patients who struggle with panic. Having breakfast every morning is of great importance. A starving body has more chances to be nervous than the one who is well fed. Our nerves deserve to be fed with nutrients and magnesium is one of the most important in these cases. Magnesium can be found in green veggies like kale, but it can be purchased as a supplement as well. Omega 3 fatty acids are recommended by physicians. They can be found in fish oil and in fat fish, as well as these foods.

How To Help Yourself When Having A Panic Attack

Be smarter than your panic attack and end it before it even starts. If you feel that you will have the attack of that kind, try to breathe deeply and relax your body. Tense muscles in your arms or hands and then relax those muscles after few seconds. You may try to tense the muscles in your face as well. If you want to stop panic attacks immediately, keep relaxing all the muscles in your body. While doing that, focus your thoughts on slow and deep breathing. Breathe in, and keep the breath for a while and then breathe out. That will help you if you start to hyperventilate.

Also, if a panic attack occurs, try to change your setting. If you are sitting in a car or maybe driving, stop the car and get out of it. Have a short walk. If you are near some park, walk slowly and watch the trees or birds. Listen to the birds singing or leaves producing a sound. If you change the place, that can stop the attack or make it pass quickly. When it seems to you that the attack is coming, drink a glass of fresh water or peel yourself an orange.

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Jun
19
2014

Learning To Create Your Own Blog

ltcybThere are several things that you can learn when you create your own blog. First, you will have an idea on what blogging is all about. It is not just about yourself but it is also about sharing your ideas to the world and making your website known. Sometimes, people create blogs as their hobby, but as their audiences grew bigger, they can share a lot more and gain more respect and trust from the readers. Second, you can arrange your thoughts. When you create your own blog, you will have an opportunity to arrange every thought you have for the benefit of the readers. Choosing the right niche and keywords will let you understand how important it is to organize the content of your website so that the readers will be loyal to your posts.

Third, you can earn from blogging. There are numerous ways to earn with blogging. Aside from promoting certain products online, you can also have several advertisements on the site, which can potentially increase over time. When you create your own blog, you should keep in mind that people will be able to read it eventually. Sooner or later, you will earn out from your hard work.

Utilizing The Most Popular Blog Topics

Blogging is not an easy process because you have to choose the most popular blog topics in order to gain the attention of internet users. These topics are essential in generating traffic to the website because it attracts readers to read or subscribe the post. This is the reason why it is important to choose the right popular blog topics. In order to make this process possible, the very first thing that you have to do is to determine if you can write about such popular topic for your blog. Make sure that you have researched the best keywords for these topics so that you can incorporate it on your website. The keywords are very important in any blog because it is what internet users will use in finding a website in search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.

Once you have chosen the right topic, be sure that you are specific in writing an article. Do not generalize the article rather, always take enough time to research. Avoid plagiarism issues as this can affect the status of the entire blog. As much as possible, use the best plagiarism tool software in utilizing the most popular blog topics for your site.

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Apr
28
2014

Chupacabra Madness! Conspiracies Abound!

cSome serious-minded investigators seek to initiate a scientific study of chupacabras and raise it above the level of ridicule. With this aim, Dr. Virgilio Sanchez-Ocejo of the Miami UFO Center has given the alleged creatures the “scientific name” of “hemo predator.” His Web site contains details on the recent major sightings. It contains photos of animals that have supposedly been killed by chupacabras, and supposed tracks of the beast. You can even listen to a simulation of the Blood Predator’s fearsome cry. One intriguing hypothesis suggested on the Web site is that the chupacabras may actually be “alien pets.”

But Chupacabras are not the only strange creatures running about that scientists are too closed-minded to accept. According to a recent BBC news story no less a personage than Princess Rangsrinopadorn Yukol of Thailand claims to have seen, and even filmed, long-haired elephants (said to be related to woolly mammoths) that have secreted themselves in a remote part of that country. But Dr. Preecha Puangkam, an expert on elephants, said after viewing the film that it shows only ordinary elephants, and he even identified the herd captured on film. But this has not deterred a band of intrepid explorers, including the Princess, who have set off into the wilderness to stalk the woolly Thai neo-mammoths. We wish them the best of luck.

This column recently reported on the mysterious, fast-moving “flying rods” that are being reported from many places (SI March/April, 2000, p. 20). MUFON’s Eastern Director George A. Filer reports that one of these critters was apparently captured and killed with bug spray. According to Filer, Chuck Rogers of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, inadvertently captured a rod in his home, which tried to escape. “Apparently it was caught inside a grocery bag in his sink and started to thrash until it flew swiftly out of the bag. Barely visible, it flew into the next room where his lab is located and hit the foam tile ceiling a few times. Sulfur powder was in the lab and used to control parasites on their dog. He spotted the flying rod and sprayed insect spray at it and didn’t see it for a while. He spotted a diaphanous, transparent, and obviously immobile (dead) object in the sulfur powder. When he touched the object, it disintegrated into the powder.” Since the remains of the c reature in the powder have apparently not been saved, the loss to science is incalculable.

Filer adds, “Periodically we receive reports of flying objects that appear to be something like flying transparent jellyfish, caterpillars, or rods. They have been videotaped and appear to come in various sizes from a few inches long to ten feet or more. They seem to have hundreds of wings that propel them through the sky. Science does not seem aware of them, but we obtain a steady stream of these reports. We urge anyone to attempt to capture them for scientific analysis. Assuming these reports are accurate we may have discovered a new life form. Sometimes they appear to have light-making ability similar to lightning bugs.”

In recent years, UFO proponents have one case they have been touting as the most solid, indisputable proof of the existence of flying craft seen in plain daylight. It is the pair of famous photos taken by the late Paul Trent of McMinnville, Oregon, on May 11, 1950, and left unresolved by the Condon Committee investigation in 1969. (This is in spite of numerous inconsistencies and implausibilities that have been known for years. See my Web page at www.debunker.com/trent.html.) Now UFOlogist Joel Carpenter seems to have dealt the Trent photos a major, and possibly fatal, blow.

Carpenter, an enthusiast for restoring old vehicles, noted the similarity of Trent’s supposed UFO to the side mirrors that were used in trucks during the 1920s and 30s. As it happens, the principal reason that the Trent “UFO” is considered anomalous is that the Condon investigation revealed that densitometric measurements of its underside show it to be brighter than expected for a plain, shaded white nearby surface.

However, if the underside of the object is a mirror instead of a diffuse reflector, what we are seeing is not a shaded surface but the reflection of a sunlit patch of ground, and we should hence expect a much higher reading. Carpenter also did a virtual reality reconstruction of the nearby objects seen in the photos, revealing that the camera was much closer to the ground than anyone had previously suspected. Either farmer Trent ran out of the house with his camera, then unexpectedly crouched down near the ground to get photos of a saucer as it flew by, or else he wanted to put as much distance as possible between his camera and the tiny model UFO that he had hung from the overhead wires. Carpenter says, “The overall geometry of the positions and the attributes of the camera suggest that he was attempting to frame a nearby object in such a way as to maximize the amount of sky around it and enhance its apparent altitude.” You can judge for yourself after seeing Carpenter’s pages at www.ufx.org/mcminn/photo.ht m.

Recent research reveals that the alien abductors are not quite as clever as some have thought. In fact, in many cases they can be downright careless and stupid. Veteran researcher Don Worley of the Institute for UFO Research has listed a number of instances in which the UFO aliens abducted someone but brought them back wearing different clothes (www.frii.com/[sim]iufor/worley.htm). For example, one woman was apparently abducted wearing a Victoria’s Secret nightgown, but brought back wearing a mans oversized shirt. “What man awakened in the Victoria’s Secret nightgown,” asks Worley, “and what did he tell his wife?” Another woman apparently had her nightgown switched for the T-shirt of a Japanese marathon runner (which is all the more puzzling, given the almost total absence of UFO abduction claims from Japan). A farmer in Illinois moved but apparently failed to inform his regular UFO abductors, who peered in the usual windows and frightened the new tenants out of their wits.

Just because not much has been written lately about the ongoing war on the part of Scientology against its critics does not mean that they have suddenly reverted to civilized norms (see this column, September/October 1995). If anything, it means that such harassment has become so commonplace that it is no longer newsworthy. In Clearwater, Florida, the location of one of Scientology’s major headquarters, an ongoing battle rages against anti-Scientology protesters and pickets, most of whom are from the Lisa McPherson Trust (named for a young woman who died of neglect and/or mistreatment while in “isolation” in a Scientology “prison” for persons who have broken the rules–see www.xenu.net/archive/events/lisa_mcpherson/the_trust). This frequently involves shoving and other physical interference against critics that somehow the Clearwater police are unable to “see.” Many of the Clearwater police officers during their off-duty hours are paid $21 per hour by Scientology to serve as a private security force, and crit ics charge that this makes it impossible for the police to be fair and neutral in the ongoing battle of ideologies.

Critics have filmed Scientologist strong-arm agents physically interfering with protesters and sticking gum on their camera lenses, but Clearwater police are singularly uninterested in the indisputable video evidence of these crimes. In February 2000 some German filmmakers requested to interview one Scientologist at his home. He declined. Shortly afterward, as the filmmakers were walking back onto the street, a man with a hammer ran out from the house threatening them, and hitting their video camera with the hammer. The entire hammer attack was captured on video, but Clearwater police refused to arrest or prosecute the man, and suggested that it was the filmmakers who were “trespassing” and committing a “felony” by recording the attack without the attacker’s permission. The Scientologist with the hammer, Richard Bernard, was later found to be wanted for skipping bail on a charge of cocaine trafficking, and was arrested and sent to Key West to ser ve a one-year sentence. (Scientology claims to be uncompromisingly anti-drugs, but apparently sees no problem in using drug dealers as their attack dogs.)

Engineer Keith Henson of Palo Alto, California, a free speech advocate and one of Scientology’s most persistent critics, has been driven into personal bankruptcy by the group. He posted on the Internet a letter he wrote to a judge, containing an excerpt from one of Scientology’s secret scriptures about how the group’s “E-meters” (crude devices that are nothing more than simple galvanometers) could be used to diagnose and treat diseases. Henson argued that Scientology was practicing medicine without a license as well as promoting dangerous and unproven medical practices, and hence his revelation and discussion of this act constituted protected free speech on a subject of public interest. But after a series of bizarre rulings against Henson by the judge, Scientology obtained a judgment of $75,000 against him for “copyright infringement.” The amount of money that the organization has spent to crush Henson using top-dollar legal talent dwarfs the amount they could ever hope to collect from him by at least a fact or of ten, and probably much more that that. Such persecution is clearly intended not to protect Scientology’s legitimate interests but to serve as a warning to other would-be activists of the fate awaiting them should they follow Henson’s example.

Now the Scientologists are attempting to have Henson put in jail for allegedly threatening to attack their main headquarters with nuclear cruise missiles. According to the police report on the incident, “some threats [were] being made against the Church on the Internet newsgroup, alt.Religion.scientology. In the documents, it shows Keith discussing how an ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missiles) could be accurate enough to hit the Church of Scientology. [G] also showed me documents that have pictures of the Church in San Jacinto, with satellite coordinates, so that a missile could be accurately launched at the Church.” As far as is known, Henson possesses no nuclear weapons, nor any cruise missiles to deliver them. Nonetheless the case is going to trial in Riverside County, California, charging Henson with making “misdemeanor terrorist threats.”

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Apr
28
2014

Protestors Hit Pay-Dirt

phpdCFF and its members have maintained that NPPC, as general contractor for checkoff-funded programs, has used checkoff money to promote the interests of integrated and large-sized producers at the expense of smaller producers. They have called the checkoff a “tax” and charged that the NPPCUSDA agreement “stole” a democratic election.

The agreement was reached after NPPC, the Michigan Pork Producers Assn. and certain Michigan pork producers sued USDA for alleged illegalities in irregularities in the referendum and after the U.S. Department of Justice advised USDA to negotiate a settlement.

In a news release from the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, one of the members of the CFF coalition, Iowa producer Larry Ginter said. the demonstration outside Veneman’s home showed the “outrage” family farmers feel toward Veneman’s decision to support “a failed and unpopular tax … by negating a democratic vote.”

Minnesota producer Linda Noble, a member of the Land Stewardship Project, another member of the CFF coalition, said the demonstration in NPPC’s office showed the “obvious — that NPPC has forgotten whose money (the council is) taking.”

Missouri producer Rhonda Perry, a member of the Missouri Rural Crisis Center, another member of the CFF coalition, said, “When your vote doesn’t count, you have to take your message to the people who stand in the way of democracy.”

The message taken to NPPC’s office was one where the family farmers barged into the office, confronted staff at times belligerently and physically — invaded staff offices, sent a fax describing NPPC chief executive officer Al Tank as someone who stole checkoff money and democracy to every pre-programmed send number and demanded a meeting with Tank, who was in meetings at the Capitol concerning livestock producers’ needs, according to NPPC’s description of the event.

The group plastered “Stop the pork tax” stickers everywhere, NPPC said.

“It was very tense,” NPPC’s Washington communications director Steven Cohen told Feedstuffs.

Cohen, one of five NPPC people in the office at the time, said he tried to answer the questions shouted at him, but the environment prohibited reasoned discussion. He noted that the office has met with checkoff opponents in the past who came to the office in smaller groups that could meet in the conference room, but he said there was no way to break this group into conference room size.

Cohen said he ultimately called police, and when two officers arrived at the office and said they would call in a special task force to clear the office, the protestors left the office and dispersed. He said a decision has not yet been made to file charges.

He said a damage estimate is not yet completed.

The Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, in its news release, said both the NPPC office and Veneman home protests “were peaceful and ended without arrests or problems.” Eric Davidson, a spokesman for the Iowa Citizens group, denied that threats were made or vandalism was done in the protest at the NPPC office, but he did say that the protestors stickered the office.

NPPC president Barb Determan, a producer from Early, Iowa, called the protest “an injustice” to all pork producers who have invested in the office and staff who work on their behalf, and she reaffirmed NPPC’s commitment to work in the best interests of all producers.

Determan said the council has tolerated activists for years because it thought it could answer questions truthfully and get producers to listen. However, “as of today, (they) have taken their actions too far. … As a pork producer, I have had enough. We are going to stand strong against this attack and focus on the future of the pork checkoff,” she said.

Cohen said the protestors left saying that they would return, and the council is reviewing procedures for similar protests in the future.

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Apr
12
2014

Farm Taxes Can Be Intelligently Paid

ftcbipThe Internal Revenue Service had previously taken the position that in computing the increase in tax for an earlier year, the taxable income for such an earlier year, before adding the third of elected farm income from the current year, could not be less than zero. Now, however, the service, in its 2000 Farmers Tax Guide (IRS Pub No. 225), has changed its position, and agrees that taxable income from an earlier year can be a negative number. As a result of this changed position, the amount that tax averaging can save a farmer who had a loss in one or more base years can be substantially increased.

The service’s new position is retroactive. Assume a farmer who could have used income averaging in 1998 and/or 1999 had negative taxable income in a base year. Schedule J (the schedule used by farmers to average, their income) for both 1998 and 1999 did not allow the use of a negative taxable income for a base year. The service now says that a farmer may file an amended return on Form 1040X to claim any refund that would result from using the actual negative taxable income for a base year instead of zero.

Thus, farmers who did not use Schedule J for 1998 and/or 1999 and who would benefit from the service’s new position may now amend those returns to elect to use farm averaging. Similarly, farmers who used Schedule J for 1998 and/or 1999, and reported their taxable income for a base year as zero even though it was actually a negative amount, may now amend their return to refigure their tax using the actual negative amount.

Example: In 1998, your farmer client, a single taxpayer, had taxable income of $110,000, of which $80,000 was from his farming business. He had taxable income of $15,000 in 1997, $10,000 in 1996, and a taxable loss of $15,000 in 1995.

He elected to average $75,000 of farming income for 1998 over the three previous years. Based on the instructions for Schedule J, you computed your client’s Federal income tax for 1998 as follows:

(1) You subtracted the elected part of his 1998 taxable farm income ($75,000) from his total taxable income of $110,000 for that year. This left your client with taxable income of $35,000 for 1998. The tax for a single taxpayer on $35,000 for 1998 is $6,512.

(2) You then added $25,000 (one-third of his total elected farm income of $75,000) to his taxable income for each of the previous three years, except that in the case of 1995, you used zero as the taxable income instead of the taxable loss of $15,000 for that year. You then figured the tax for each of those years taking into account the elected farm income that was included for that year. You then subtracted the tax shown on your client’s actual returns for those years from the tax you calculated for him after including the $25,000 of elected farm income. As a result for 1997, your client’s taxable income was increased to $40,000, from $15,000, and his tax was increased to $8,003, from $2,254, an increase of $5,749.

For 1996, your client’s taxable income was increased to $35,000, from $10,000, and his tax was increased to $6,687, from $1,504, an increase of $5,183.

For 1995, your client’s taxable income for farm income averaging purposes was increased to $25,000 from zero since under the Schedule J instructions for 1998, he could not use less than zero for a base year. Thus, his tax for 1995 was increased to $3,972 from zero.

(3) You then computed your client’s tax for 1998 by adding the increases for 1995, 1996, and 1997 to the tax you computed for 1998 after deducting the $75,000 of elected farm income. This made your client’s total tax for 1998 $21,416 ($6,512 plus $5,749, plus $5,183, plus $3,972). This was $7,547 less than the $28,963 tax your client would have to pay on taxable income of $110,000 for 1998 if farm income averaging had not been used.

Observation: The use of income averaging allows your client to get part of his income that would otherwise have been taxed at a 31 percent rate taxed at a 15 percent rate, and part of it taxed at a 28 percent rate.

Example: As a result of the service’s change in position as to the use of negative taxable income in a base year, you now decide to amend your client’s 1998 income tax return. You would calculate the tax in the same manner as in the above example except that for 1995 you would add the $25,000 of elected farm income for that year to his negative taxable income of $15,000 instead of to zero. This would leave your client with taxable income of $10,000 for 1995 instead of $25,000. His tax for 1995 only would be $1,504 instead of $3,972, and the total tax on his 1998 tax return would be reduced to $18,948 ($6,512 plus $5,749, plus $5,183, plus $1,504) from $21,416. Thus, your client would be entitled to a refund of $2,468 plus interest for 1998.

Observation: In the above example, I have assumed that no part of the negative taxable income for 1995 resulted from a net operating loss that could be carried over to another year.

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Apr
12
2014

Beavers Add To The Problem

battpWhen flooding hit, it was clear there was a problem. Then, sadly, came the beavers. There was a virtual infestation.

“We discussed the situation with [crown corporation] Sask. Water and they said, ‘Do an environmental impact study,’ but they weren’t prepared to do anything,” explains Leo Fuhr, reeve of the Rural Municipality of Churchbridge. “Since ’95 we’ve paid out bounties on 900 beaver tails. One fellow had an infestation of 200 to 300 on his section of land. It was totally crazy. We finally said we just have to do it.”

In 1999 the RM hired two track hoes and cleared out the dams, channels and beaver; the reeve and two councillors were subsequently charged with altering a watercourse without a permit from Saskatchewan Environment and Resource Management (SERM). “We changed the shoreline, but the beaver had changed the shoreline a long time ago; nobody knew where the shoreline was,” contends Mr. Fuhr. “We just reclaimed land lost. It’s bizarre. Farmers are trying to make a living off the land, but we’re to the point where we can’t do anything until we clear the land [of water]. Farmers are losing the freedom to farm the land.”

Tim Thiele of Ducks Unlimited contends the beavers have always been there; the real issue is high water levels caused by heavy precipitation. “That’s the threat they’re throwing out–’The beavers made me do it.’ They just wanted to get rid of the water as expeditiously as possible. Originally when they wanted to do drainage in ’95 they didn’t complain about beavers.” Producing air photos from 1956 and 2000, Mr. Theile points to areas where his staff has found 7.5 kilometres of illegal ditching per square kilometre. “Besides,” he adds, “they decided not to do an environmental impact study, so they proceeded illegally, without determining the impact it would have on others.”

Having spent three weeks in court in January, the trio of RM politicians is scheduled to reappear in June. So far they have spent $100,000, Mr. Fuhr says, “and the Crown has spent a whole lot more–flying helicopters at $1,000 an hour, seven conservation officers investigating like we’re hard-nosed criminals–my lawyer figures close to half a million dollars. That’s shameful. That money could be better spent on buying sloughs from farmers that they don’t want drained. Farmers often walk away, but this time we’re going to stand up and fight.”

Having lost 25% of his land due to excess moisture, local farmer and assistant administrator of the RM of Langenburg Darwyn MacKenzie is in a foreclosure position. To add to his woes, because of an infestation of deer, he has “totalled” three vehicles in the last four years. The moral, he says, is: “We live in a very resilient environment. The pendulum has to swing from thinking the environment is hard done by; there has to be a balance. We have to keep managing the environment; we can’t pull out.”

As an example, he points to overprotected snow geese which are turning the arctic tundra into barren mud flats. According to a U.S. government study of 135,000 acres of Hudson Bay marshlands, 35% has been destroyed, the rest damaged or overgrazed to the point that other species cannot survive. As a result, private groups like the National Audubon Society and Ducks Unlimited, along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service now want hunters to shoot three million of the five million geese by 2005, or more radical measures such as poisoning or “industrial harvesting” will be required.

In 1986, Canada and the U.S. signed the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP) which committed US$1.5 billion of funding from both countries to restoring the continent’s waterfowl populations over 15 years. NAWMP’s 1998 update reported that eight of the 10 duck species targeted had already met or exceeded population goals. “If they’ve already achieved their goals,” Mr. MacKenzie demands, “why are they stopping me from defending myself against this onslaught of precipitation? About the time I go broke, some high-falutin’ expert is going to say, just like with the snow geese, ‘Oh we made a mistake. We don’t need all these wetlands.’ If they’re interested in increasing ducks, stop hunting them. If not, why expect me to keep producing them at my cost?”

Mr. MacKenzie suspects the American motivation behind the waterfowl plan was more to eliminate agricultural competition than to preserve wetlands: “The U.S. spent billions of dollars paying its farmers not to grow grain. But the cheapest set-aside program they ever had was paying the Canadian government to pass laws to keep farmers from growing grain [in wetland areas]. We’re being shot in the foot by our own government.”

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Feb
22
2014

Ag Producers Were Worried, But Nothing Came Of It

doabPresident Bush’s proposed 2002 budget has farmers and the banks that lend to them worried.

First, the Department of Agriculture budget includes no money for income assistance to farmers hard hit by low commodity prices. Last year the department’s budget set aside nearly $2.5 billion in emergency funds to help cash-strapped farmers repay loans and meet other obligations.

“If you look at agriculture over the last four years, the only way anybody has made any money is through government payments,” said Dennis McMillan, senior vice president at $1.3 billion-asset Busey Bank in Urbana, Ill.

Without that safety net, “these banks can’t make loans,” said Lyle D. Frederickson, senior vice president at $100 million-asset First Capital Bank in Phoenix.

Second, the Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan program, an economic development initiative for nonfarm rural businesses, would be reduced from $1.5 billion in 2001 to $1 billion in 2002. The cuts would come at a time when bank demand for these loan guarantees is at an all-time high. Last year more than $900 million in Business and Industry loans went unprocessed because the program ran out of money before the fiscal year ended.

The Bush administration said it omitted income assistance for farmers in this year’s budget for two reasons: commodity prices appear to be improving, and the complete budget has a $1 trillion “reserve” fund that could be used to support agriculture or any other program. John M. Blanchfield, director of the American Bankers Association’s Center for Agricultural and Rural Banking, said past administrations have not always built farm subsidies into budgets because those subsidies are considered emergency spending.

James E. Kullmer, vice president at $33 million-asset Benton County State Bank in Blairstown, Iowa, said he is confident that the government will come up with the money if farmers run into cash-flow problems this year. In fact, the Senate expects as much: It included $9 billion for aid in its budget.

The reduction is “a concern, and we want farmers to have that extra income, but the government has always come through when it’s had to,” Mr. Kullmer said.

Still, Mark K. Scanlan, director of agricultural finance with the Independent Community Bankers of America, said the trims could not come at a worse time. Besides low crop prices, farmers are grappling with higher energy expenses.

“Their production costs are going to be higher,” Mr. Scanlan said. “Their potential to make a profit will be less, and some farmers will probably go out of business regardless of the size of the package.”

Anxiety is highest in the Midwest, where many farmers rely almost entirely on government subsidies for income. In Iowa, for example, government payments make up about half the net farm income, said Marc J. Meyer, president of $85 million-asset Wells Fargo Bank in Adel, Iowa. He said the prospect of cuts is making farmers and lenders alike uneasy about how debts would be paid.

“Due to record low commodity prices, we are very much in need of supplemental payments,” Mr. Meyer said. “It does make us more conservative in our lending in both the short term and the long term.”

He added that while only 25% of his bank’s portfolio is in agricultural lending, the rest goes to businesses dependent on farmers. Main Street businesses where farmers shop will suffer without that income, he said.

Bankers also worry that the so-called reserve fund will put new hurdles before farmers needing aid.

All the President Bush will do “is create another bureaucracy to determine who gets the money,” Mr. Frederickson, the Phoenix banker, said.

As for the Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan program, the $1 billion in the Bush budget is the same amount allotted in the Clinton budget two years ago and still well above 1996 and 1997 levels. But because the program — which guarantees 80% of loans made to businesses in areas with less than 50,000 people — is more popular than ever, bankers seemed surprised that it would be targeted for cuts.

Tom Olson, president of $16 million-asset Lisco State Bank in Lisco, Neb., said the Business and Industry loans help diversify rural economies and relieve the stress brought about by low commodities prices. Last year the program helped save or create more than 29,000 jobs in rural communities, according to the Department of Agriculture.

Thomas G. Zernick, the community bank president in Lansing for $4.8 billion-asset Republic Bancorp, Owosso, Mich., said the program has to get even more funding to encourage more economic development in these communities.

“It needs to go the other way so the states can fund rural development,” he said. “It gets the banks to lend in rural areas where they might not lend without the guarantee.”

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