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Funding farming

Terry Hilgedick walks through a field of soybeans to check on an irrigation system that had stopped working the previous evening. Hilgedick’s family farm is growing 1,600 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat as their primary crops, and is one of the many farms in Boone County receiving crop subsidies.

Through the Freedom of Information Act, the Environmental Working Group was able to add 385,000 individuals to its original list compiled in 2003. The database has received more than a million hits on the Web since its launch in mid-June.

“I hope this information will help make the case for tightening policy,” Cook said. “The system needs reform, and shining some light on it is the best way to get discussion about it.”

The uneven distribution of government subsidies — the top 1 percent on Boone County’s list received 23 percent of total subsidy dollars — is not a local phenomenon. Nationally, 84 percent of funds go to 20 percent of farmers enrolled in subsidy programs, while the majority of farmers receive little or no benefits.

FARM FACTS

The average family farm household income is projected to be $82,000 in 2007, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

What Missouri’s congressional delegates say

Kit Bond would not respond to questions about payment equity and subsidy limits based on income.

In a radio conference call, McCaskill said she is most interested in keeping American farmers competitive in the global market.

Kenny Hulshof said his priorities for the farm bill are to ensure “reliable and inexpensive food sources” for Americans.

What appears to be no news can be news after all

On Tuesday, your Missourian published a story about the refusal by leaders of Columbia Public Schools to provide a list of property owners they contacted during the search for a site for a high school. The article appeared on the front page, below the fold, but with a headline large enough to grab your attention.

Was this news? It’s a valid question. Let’s face it.

Picture of the week

After competing in the Sport 40-90 mountain biking race in Rock Bridge Memorial State Park, Mike Sutherland, Myron Michael and Scott Henson rest. Many of the racers have met in previous races and compete together during the season.

Arcane texts + stock quotes = religious awakening

Brad Stewart was a teenage stock trader in 1986 when he went to a financial bookstore in Los Angeles and stumbled across a strange, smoke-filled back room devoted to an odd science.

Now, at age 40, he presides over the Sacred Science Institute, a small publishing company specializing in English translations of some of the most complicated and convoluted tracts ever written. The audience: people who see geometrical connections between the architecture of Hindu temples and fluctuations in the Dow Jones industrial average.

Screen art

Silkscreening demands patience and attention to detail. Think of layers: On the bottom, you have paper; above that, you have a fabric screen, usually made of nylon or polyester; between the paper and fabric, you have stencils in various shapes.

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