Butz #1 06/13/76

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Butz #1 06/13/76 - Butz's bumper crop of controversy By JAMES...
Butz's bumper crop of controversy By JAMES RISSER and GEORGE ANTHAN Of TM MMHMr't WaiMncMn BurMU He has antagonized or alienated food shoppers, environmentalists7Tsb7rr~ leaders, social reformers, and religious and ethnic groupSr-He is blamed for higtLfood prices,_accused of hurting small farmers, and of playing politics with malnutrition and hunger, and he is rharged with disrupting the nation's foreign policy. His only real friends are the big farmers, and, if this summer's expected bumper crop on the Great Plains affects their income as some anticipate, he may soon lose them too. Yet Earl Lauer Butz fs often referred to these days as the greatest secretary of agriculture in the history of the Republic. There are those who regard him as the leader of the Great American Farm Revolution, those who regard him as Gerald Ford's greatest political asset, and there are political experts who can't decide whether Jimmy Carter is being-smart or being dumb when he says he would dump Butz if he were elected President. Earl Butz has, in other words, clearly clearly become the country's most controversial-agriculture controversial-agriculture secretary since Ezra Taft Benson, and, after his recent behind-the-scenes struggle with Henry Kissinger, he has probably also emerged as the most powerful in history history as well. Blunt, Infuriating — Though he looks like a Depression^, era banker foreclosing the mortgage on an impoverished farmer, though he speaks in blunt, sharp tones and phrases that infuriate his critics and -delight his supporters, it is more his policies than his style that generate the heat. _TJiese_policies,_he-maintains r -are- to go academies Riggs, were classmates at Waterloo West High School. Two others, Van Horn and Fennessy, already have completed at least one year of undergraduate work in college. The others are spring graduates of Iowa high schools. The lowans are survivors from a field of several thousand women who made at least preliminary application for admission to the academies after Congress ordered that females must be admitted. The Air Force Academy, for example, example, had 1,200 women apply. The Military Military Academy at West Point bad 630 women actually nominated for admission; admission; about 90 were accepted. Same Training— The screening process included meeting top physical and academic standards. Spokesmen for the academies academies have vowed that with the obvious exceptions of restroom and sleeping facilities, and certain modifications in the uniforms, the women in these ] academy classes basically will be given the same training and discipline as the males. "This class of 1980 (when the new WOMEN Please turn to Page6A aimed essentially at transforming American agriculture from its long- lamented position of dependence on government to a new healthy reliance on the world's free food market, and they have two principal new tenets for American farmers: (1) produce more; (2) sell abroad. The Butz farm policy is one that involves risk. On the one hand, the high production can lead to big surpluses and big drops in farm prices. On the other hand, heavy exports can lead to domestic shortages — and rises in consumer consumer food prices, as they indeed did in 1972. But if the two stay in balance, if the production is matched by just the right amount of foreign sales and there is enough left over for the domestic market, then farmers will get a good income, consumers won't pay inflated prices and the nation will get some help on its balance of payments problems. problems. . Farm-state congressmen say chances are slim that farm supply and demand will remain in balance much longer, and they want to cushion any drop in prices by increasing the government government price guarantees to farmers. "Butz has been saved twice by dry wealhei ami by the RiisstaTis,' says' Representative Neal Smith, a Democrat Democrat from Iowa, referring to droughts in the American corn belt in 1974 and 1975 and to Soviet purchases of 16.5 million tons of grain from last year's crop and 2.2 million tons from the 1976 harvest. Luck Running Out? But Butz's good luck, if it is that, may be running out, because of the lush, record-shattering crop growing in the Midwest. The Agriculture Department Department is estimating that 1976 grain production production will react) 255 million tons, 13 million more than last year's. "Butz should be praying for drought right now," says one observer. "If he doesn't get it, he'll have a first-class farm issue on his hands because we'll have enough of a surplus to' remind farmers that he's been against higher government price supports." The General Accounting Office warrts that such 'a bumper crop could hurt the farm economy because the Agriculture Department has no real plans for dealing with either surpluses or shortages, The secretary tells farmers that high price guarantees, or supports, would "lead you backward to the days when government controls dictated what you planted and how much" and, in the long runTtead'terovefproductio'h. Though many experts say he's whistling whistling in the-dark, he is predicting that bumper crops will be absorbed. He does acknowledge, however, that his policy will work only if the United States remains grain exporter to the world. Nevertheless, there has been, as Butz asserts, something of a revolution in American agriculture during his tenure. tenure. Farm income has shot from $14 BUTZ Please turn to Page3A

Clipped from
  1. The Des Moines Register,
  2. 13 Jun 1976, Sun,
  3. Page 1

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