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Readers' views for May 18, 2012


Words on farm youth hit mark


Having grown up on a family farm located about 30 miles south of Buffalo, N.Y., just outside of Cowarda, N.Y., with two brothers and a sister, I comment on "Young workers aid farms, maintain traditions" by Brad Avakian for the Capital Press.


No more appropriate comment could be made about child labor, especially in Oregon. Unfortunately it appears our labor laws -- in Washington, D.C., legislators' hands -- have not, and do not understand the value of the training of farm youth, usually under the guidance of wise and understanding farm parents.


Avakian's comments should go to all legislators.


Ed Markham


Bainbridge Island, Wash.




Don't privatize Farm Credit


I'm writing in response to the article "Farm Credit ag lender ranks shrink due to mergers," in which Bert Ely proposes the Farm Credit System ought to be privatized. As the article points out, FCS has been successful and has seen a trend toward consolidation. This alone is not cause to propose privatization but Ely has an agenda behind this suggestion, which ought to be highlighted.


The FCS was federally chartered precisely because banks would not lend in this marketplace. The FCS has played a vital role in financing our rural economy. It was created almost a century ago to create a permanent source of capital because banks weren't reliable in this vital market and they're prone to unstable periods. Just ask any rural business that's recently found itself without credit as banks are very focused on risk management in this environment.


As a network of cooperatives, Northwest Farm Credit Services represents a key alternative to investor-owned financial institutions, as it's governed by a board of directors elected by its customers. The American Bankers Association provides an avenue for Ely's Farm Credit Watch, just like it does for Credit Union Watch. The banking industry does not like alternatives to their model.


The Capital Press ought to appropriately and clearly identify experts when they represent industry. Ely and Company, based in Alexandria, Va., represents a radical political perspective and is employed by corporate lobbying interests. On the site he states "Mispriced credit has been a major cause, if not the primary cause, of calamities (which) ... in turn have caused wars, poverty, hunger." He works "... with clients (e.g. the ABA) ... in eliminating government policies which cause mispriced credit."


Never before, than in the aftermath of a financial crisis created by the banking industry, is the idea of demutualizing -- or "privatizing" -- FCS a more dangerous or absurd suggestion.


Eric Bowman


Cooperative Development Specialist


Northwest Cooperative


Development Center


Ellensburg, Wash.



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