Friday, December 31, 2010

Essex, Illinois artist Jack Barker

As soon as I saw this photo of Essex-based artist Jack Barker, my immediate thought was, the American Pickers have to stop there!  Such cool stuff!!

Here is a PBS video which includes an interview where Jack Barker discusses some of his work (Barker's is the last interview):

Monday, December 27, 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Farm Subsidies in Kankakee County

If you are interested in researching farm subsidies in Kankakee County, this website provides a searchable database of farm subsidy payments organized by state and county.

There is a lot of data on this site.  For example, according to this site, from 1995 to 2009, farms in Kankakee County received $188, 244, 365 dollars in Corn Subsidies.

Included in this total are: deficiency payments, direct payments, production flexibility payments, and other payments.

Subsidies to grain farmers have become a controversial issue in debates over food policy.  Those who argue against corn subsidies argue that these payments flood the food market with products made from corn that they argue are largely unhealthy.

Farmers and other supporters of corn subsidies point to high input costs such as land rent, fertilizer, and weed control chemicals and argue that subsidies are critical to ensuring farmers can produce the food that consumers want.  You cannot deny that the public continues to buy meat---most corn grown in the US is used for livestock feed--and other products that rely on corn.

The New York Times recently published a debate on whether farm subsidies protect national security.