The Barbershop has re-located

The proprietor has moved the shop to ChicagoNow, a Chicago Tribune site that showcases some of the best bloggers in the Chicago area. You can logo on to the Barbershop home page here. The ChicagoNow home page is here.

You'll still be able to post comments with the same ease as in this location. The proprietor also will keep this web site alive if you wish to review old posts.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Farm Bill Cometh

By Dennis Byrne

It's hard to imagine Bill Gates, that high-tech icon, as a farmer. Yet, he has bought up hundreds of acres of Illinois farmland, putting the world's richest man in line for federal agriculture aid, just like any other American farmer.

Agribusiness; perhaps no other endeavor reaps as government aid. But all that aid will disappear on Sept. 30, when the 2002 farm authorization act expires--unless, of course, Congress passes a new one. And considering the powerful special interests at work, it's a safe bet that Congress will pass the 2007, on time and with as much or more largesse.

Gates, the good businessman that he is, can't be blamed for making a small--for him--investment in farmland, which is in high demand right now, and consequently, quite pricey. Crain's Chicago Business reported July 2 that Gates has spent $14 million buying Illinois farmland since 2006. Gates also owns 20 percent of California-based Pacific Ethanol Inc., the holder of almost $65 million worth of American farmland. Gates, the publication said, was positioning himself to benefit from the boom in ethanol, which is made from corn, soybeans and other biomass generated down on the farm.

Read more at RealClearPolitics

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