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Comments about ‘Another 'bumper year' on LDS Church farms, ranches’

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Published: Tuesday, Dec. 31 2013 9:45 a.m. MST

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markb
Craig, CO

I can remember spending many hours as a youth at the stake farms. My dad was a convert and loved to serve, so whenever there was a job to do, we were there. He was blind, so pre-dawn irrigation was not a problem. Just plunk him down by the gate and tell him what time to open or close it. He used his cane to follow the ditch and counted how many steps it took to get to the next gate. The next time we had irrigation, he did it like a pro. When we picked fruit, we set up the ladder, gave him his bucket, and put his hand on the base of the branch. He would feel his way up the branch, picking every piece of fruit. At the time, I didn't like the stake farm, but now I cherish those memories and what it taught me about hard work and service to others. Of course eating your fill of sweet cherries while you worked was a perk. I usually made myself sick. I was sad when I heard the church was closing our stake farm on 800 South in Orem. So many good memories....

gee-en
Salt Lake City, UT

Thanks for this interesting article.
I've never worked in the church's orchards, farms, or ranches, but I have volunteered at the canneries where we have helped process some of the food grown. I wonder if the cannery packing is part of the volunteer hours referenced here, or if that is considered a different part of the process?
From what I have seen of the canneries and that process...I have to say that it is really an amazing work that the church is doing. Very organized, very high quality, very good work people are doing to try to help feed and take care of untold millions.
Also, a very good spirit seems to accompany us all when involved in this work.

Bearone
Monroe, UT

And there were Ward farms in a lot of the rural areas. As a boy, our ward had a farm in Idaho that raised grain and alfalfa. When we moved to Utah, our ward had a 5 acre farm that raised potatoes each year. The ward would trade land with local farmers for crop rotation purposed.
It was sad when the church closed down those small ward farms.

The Taxman
Los Angeles, CA

Wow... what a misleading article.

First, the "Church" does not own significant farms that I know of, but rather owns companies that own very large farming businesses. The Church-owned companies together form one of the largest agribusinesses on earth (owning hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland and grossing billions of dollars in sales each year). These businesses, along with other large agribusiness, have aggressively bought-out small farmers and supplanted small farming in United States.

The notion that anything but the tiniest fraction of production is used for welfare purposes is simply wrong. Most of the farming production is sold for profit. Profits that are secret (not disclosed to the church members or public) and are "reinvested" in buying out more small farms.

The Taxman
Los Angeles, CA

Why would the Church and the DN moderators want to censor the truth and mislead the members into thinking it's farming operations consist of some volunteers Toiling with bent rakes and shovels.

The truth is that the Church operates one of the largest, if not the largest, agribusiness in the world, and grosses billions of dollars each year from its hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland. Most of the crops are sold for profit with a tiny, tiny percentage used for the welfare program. The millions of pounds of almonds alone (produced by the church) would drown every storehouse if delivered to them. While secrecy and misdirection?

The Taxman
Los Angeles, CA

... please excuse the errors... I dictate and the "autocorrect" feature does what it will.

1.96 Standard Deviations
OREM, UT

The Taxman-

Your post about church farms and welfare reminds me of some Bible jokes. Have you ever done a Google search for "Liberal Bible Headlines?" Here are some examples:

On Red Sea crossing:

Wetlands Trampled in Labor Strike
Pursuing Environmentalists Killed

On David vs. Goliath:

Hate Crime Kills Beloved Champion
Psychologist Questions Influence of Rock

On Elijah on Mt. Carmel:

Fire Sends Religious Right Extremist into Frenzy
400 Killed

On the birth of Christ:

Hotels Full, Animals Left Homeless
Animal Rights Activists Enraged by Insensitive Couple

On feeding the 5,000:

Pracher Streals Child's Lunch
Disciples Mystified Over Behavior

On healing the 10 lepers:

Local Doctor's Practice Ruined
"Faith Healer" Causes Bankruptcy

On healing of the Gadarene demoniac:

Manman's Friend Causes Stampede
Local Farmer's Investment Lost

In sum, doesn't matter how much good the church does -- there are always critics for some reason. These Bible jokes illustrate this principle. But don't worry, the truth will go on boldly and independent.

el steve o
Herriman, UT

So the Taxman has all the inside info on the Church's "secret" and confidential ag-business dealings, good job Taxman. Thanks for enlightening us all. So, since you have all the answers and have read the Harvard study referenced in the article, maybe you can tell us of something that works better than the Church's welfare program.

The LDS Church's local level of organization (Ward and Stake), are the best known and most efficient way of helping take care of each other, when it comes to helping out during times of crisis.

Read the Book of Mormon, Taxman, it's true.

McMurphy
St George, Utah

A personal benefit to me from the church welfare system. Thinning sugar beets as a young teen convinced me that a college education was essential to my future happiness.

Thid Barker
Victor, ID

@ 1.96 Standard Deviation. I laughed at your post until I had tears in my eyes! Definitely very funny! And like all humor it has to have truth in it! Thank you for making my day/week/ month/new year! Happy New Year!

@ McMurphy. I too benefited from the church welfare system the same as you! Thinning sugar beets builds character and motivates a person to further their education! I recommend it for people who have no motivation in their lives.

Mugabe
ACWORTH, GA

Another indication that this is the work of the Lord. Nothing will deter the Lord's plan to care for his children. I am moved with tears and compassion.

Lillith70
SLC, UT

Better to sell and/or manage all excess instead of letting it rot in the fields. Better to buy the manufactured goods such as toilet tissue and shaving cream for the program?

So many people would take something that works well/smoothly/and to the benefit of those in need and those who need to serve and change it? Tear down something that benefits so many and replace it with the emptiness of Babylon?

suzyk#1
Mount Pleasant, UT

Our Welfare Program is incredible and helps millions every day. I too, remember working on the farm and the good feeling I had as a young girl of how I was truly helping provide for others who were less fortunate. Everyone worked so well with each other - no fooling around - just good hard work with a positive attitude.

sfcretdennis
Nice, CA

The Taxman Los Angeles, CA. And were do you get your information? I remember as a child going out to the Farm with my mom and dad working on the church farms. This is a great program that helps millions and not just church members. Ill never understand people like you who hate so much you half to till lies and try to distort the truth or lie. What has the church member ship ever done to you for you to hate us so much you have to try to tear every good thing the church member ship does down?

mominthetrenches
South Jordan, Utah

@taxman, Why not offer a counter interview with the Des News? I don't doubt that the Church might be buying up small farms. I have never heard any of them clamoring against the Church for their conspiratorial, secretive take-overs, though. I also know that farming is becoming an increasingly difficult occupation to sustain, due to the expense of pretty much everything! How do you know some of these farmers aren't happy to sell out and let a larger operation help them out financially? It makes good business sense. Collectively, you can see how much the LDS Church is impacting those who need the food when disaster, unemployment or famine hit! Or people like me who just use it cause it is reasonably priced and I enjoy learning how to can things up myself. Sheesh!

Strider303
Salt Lake City, UT

Taxman, please include data, references and documentation with allegations. They appear to be sound, all sound with no evidence to back them up.

If an organization owns a company which owns subsidiaries then the parent organization owns them all. I believe the holding company is Intellectual Properties Reserve or something like that. It makes sense to me that product unused for welfare uses is sold on the open market for profit to be invested in support of the owner’s goals (Church’s mission).

Some properties do not lend themselves to volunteer labor due either to the nature of the work, location or OSHA rules. So people are hired to operate the business.

Oh, once a gift (tithing or property) is given, it is the property of the recipient and the giver has no further claim on its use or information concerning its use.

As to the article, I feel it would have been nice for the author to have included production numbers from 2012, 2011 etc, to document claims of a "banner year". Please include year of visit and or at least the name of the study or paper.

Otherwise, the story sounds like an article from a ward newspaper.

ulvegaard
Medical Lake, Washington

Those who claim that produce grown and sold goes into some secret fund rather than the welfare program might consider other things.

When visiting a Bishop's storehouse, there is more to be supplied there than just turkey, almonds, raisins and citrus fruits. There is also toilet paper, cleaning supplies - including mops and brooms, hygiene products and even candy for Christmas stockings. To the best of my knowlege, the church (or its owned companies) does not have the capacity to grow toilet paper and shaving gel. These are purchased, but who knows where the money comes from to do that - nor to purchase the packaging supplies, fuel the fleet of semi-trucks or other forms of ground and air transportation.

portlander
Arlington, WA

I worked on a Church farm in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, 45 years ago, irrigating green beans. I was told it the largest farm of it's kind in the state. I was a paid "hand" along with a few other friends from my Stake in Portland. I also volunteered to work in a Bishop's Storehouse cannery, helping to can green beans.

The beans grown on the Church farm, went to market and to local commercial canneries, like Bird's Eye and Flav-R-Pac, and the Church was paid the going rate. The beans we canned in the Portland cannery, came from commercial bean farms around the Blue Lake area, a well known and famous green bean producing area. The Church paid the going rate to purchase those beans.

Now tell me, what is wrong with this system? It seems that one offsets the other! Now, if the Church makes a little profit, what is that money used for? To line the pockets of the General Authorities? Ludicrous!

portlander
Arlington, WA

Those funds are used to build the Kingdom of God upon this wicked and fallen world. Those are sacred funds, and whether we know it or not, they are used with the utmost of thought, and prayers, the way that the Lord Himself directs.

I remember President Hinckley once saying that the Church no longer needs the tithing of the members of the Church to operate. That the Church has enough commercial enterprises making enough profits to cover the expenses that the Church incurs. But, he also stated that it is still required of us to pay our tithes and offerings, as it is still a commandment from God and that it still benefits us personally, spiritually as well as physically!

And after this time of "fat" there will eventually, come a time of lean and hardness. The Church, just as Joseph of old, will be prepared, just as we should all be in our own homes.

How about living the Gospel at home, in our own lives, and quit following those who would take us astray, into forbidden paths!

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

There are many claims made about the success of LDS Welfare, yet, there are few to no statistics available. The LDS church is a blackhole of information. We don't know what amount of fast offerings are collected and disbursed in a given year. We don't know anything about the ag businesses-for profit and non-profit--the Church owns. We don't know if/how much food produced by the Church goes to feed the hungry around the world vs for-profit purposes. Are "volunteers" used in Church-owned commercial businesses?

These are important questions and I am surprised the Church is not more forthcoming with the information.

The article doesn't even mention the name of the Harvard professor.

Re:portlander
"To line the pockets of the General Authorities? Ludicrous!"

Who knows?

(Or, alternatively, to build a billion dollar luxury housing and shopping complex.)

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