City Government

Feds Pay Poop Farm Subsidy

One of Ada County’s biggest recipients of farm subsidy (welfare) payments from the U.S. Government last year was none other than Boise City’s “Poop Farm” which qualified for $30,577 in welfare.

No word from the city if the money found its way into the general fund and got swallowed up or was added to the poorly monitored and audited Twenty Mile South farm operation.

The information was included in a Washington Post story detailing the out of control spending by the U.S. Department of Agriculture nationwide. A Boise mainstream paper printed the Post story Monday, but it took a GUARDIAN reader to do the real LOCAL reporting. According to USDA information, other Ada County welfare recipients included the following:

Robert Nichols of Kuna topped the list with $41,585.
Boise City took second place with $30,577.
Carl V. Nicholson also of Kuna and believed to be a neighbor of the Poop Farm got $28,761.
L. P. Murgoitio and G. R. Murgoitio were paid $28,041 and $22,224 respectively.

CCT Land & Cattle of Meridian made $27,778 off taxpayers and the Quarter Circle DJ Ranch at Eagle made $23,995.

Rounding out the top Ada County winners were Snake River Farms %Jerry Tlucek of Melba at $20, 715, James D. Patterson of Boise at $20,245 and Big D Ranch of Meridian at a paltry $18, 299.


Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. There’s an interesting story in the 7-3-06 issue of the Statesman that says ” $ 1.3 billion dollars annually in crop subsidies is given by the agriculture dept. to people who don’t even farm. Now combine that paltry sum with the fact that many of those food producers getting subsidies are macro-farms making huge profits to begin with and putting the small farmers who get $ 0 in subsidies out of business. So, the US Agricultural Dept. is giving thousands of millions of tax payers money to wealthy landowners who don’t farm and to macro agri ” businesses” that are putting the average American Farmer out of business.

    Gosh,Guardian, Idaho’s well heeled dude ranchers are just rackin’ it in on their ” cash cows” with the help of the US Congress and bureaucracy at pork ( or is it cow ) barrelin’ best best!

  2. Did Boise City keep this money? Seems to me it should have been sent back, with a note, that said “We here in Boise don’t believe in Govt. subsidizing Govt., and since the Poop Farm is only in existence to allow us a place to put our poop, it just wouldn’t be right to accept this money. Thanks, but no thanks!” I always thought the goal was to get rid of the biosolids….and have the farm pay for the cost of its operation and maintenance. So, if it isn’t making money or growing great crops, that’s probably okay, since that was never the intent. Now comes this goofy subsidy and where DID that money go?

  3. With apologies to Groucho: “Politics doesn’t make strange bedfellows – money does.”

    The parade of Poop Farm players:
    If memory serves, Robert Nichols of Kuna is a former lessee of numerous fields at the Poop Farm. Somewhere along the line the City and Nichols had a disagreement about the lease terms and Mr. Nichols sued the city–and records will show he won. He is currently doing custom farming, chopping silage on behalf of the local dairies who are the buyers of the crops from the poop farm.

    Carl V. Nicholson of Kuna is also a former lessee of numerous fields at the Poop Farm in addition to being a former owner of some of the property. Mr. Nicholson and Mr. Nichols at one time had a violent disagreement about farming practices at the Poop Farm which culminated in wrecked trucks and brandishing firearms.

    CCT Land & Cattle of Meridian is another former lessee of numerous fields at the Poop Farm and currently a principal from CCT is leasing land at the Poop Farm as a principal of TFI .

    James D. Patterson of Boise has done custom harvesting work at the poop farm as well.

    Big D Ranch of Meridian is the local grainery and as such has been the broker of some of the small grains grown at the farm at various times.

    EDITOR NOTE–A name change is in order. How about WELFARE ACRES?

  4. From Within
    Jul 4, 2006, 12:00 am

    There has been talk of taking this to someone like Reader’s Digest. Anything to get an “honest” investigation into the City of Boise / Public Works farm cover-up. No doubt, there is enough here for a good national level interest story…

    However, it would be much better if the fed’s where to get involved and got something done, especially since what some want to label as just “poor management” actually has a nasty element of government criminal activity to it.

    Of course the other options are still open…

  5. Subsidy Payments 1995-2004 = $112,646

    About the price of a farm tractor.

    USDA subsidy information for City Of Boise % Public Works Dept
    Kuna, ID 83634

    EDITOR NOTE– Not sure what this is. There are apparently many subsidy programs.

  6. Boise Citizen
    Jul 4, 2006, 10:01 am

    Dave, help me out here.

    How is it a government not-for-profit biosoids farm funded by the public gets federal government farm subsidies? How many different times, how many different ways do we the people pay for this mess?

    As I understood it, this not-for-profit government farm is actually making money (working in the black). Are they reporting actual farming results or a bunch of behind the scene publicly funded aid?

    What is wrong with this picture?

  7. The city’s wastewater treatment plants and all that goes with them, including the “poop farm” is funded with Enterprise money, i.e., it’s paid for from the sewer bills the public pays, not from collected tax dollars (General funds). With very few exceptions, the two worlds (Enterprise and General Funds) are not to meet. However…

    One way the two can meet is by taking the profits made with Enterprise money (i.e., from the farm, airport, etc,.) and skimming off the interest made for various General fund use.

    The farm as a profit maker, not simply as a means to offset the cost of processing wastewater has taken on a whole different meaning within the city. This is maybe some of the reasons for the decisions management made in recent past. General funds have and do directly benefit from profits made with Enterprise money and the farm has become a good revenue source.

    If it turns out that the city is also getting federal aid for the farm, then that tax money is going directly towards the profits of the farm, thus supporting the city’s General fund in an indirect way. I don’t know how legal any of that is, but I do question how ethical it is….

  8. Boise Citizen
    Jul 4, 2006, 6:27 pm

    If what “Insider” is true, so much for the farm being a not-for-profit business intended to offset the cost of operating the city’s wastewater treatment plants. We’re screwed…

  9. Daily Reader
    Jul 4, 2006, 9:43 pm

    Tam –
    You’re assumption as to why the poop farm exists is in part correct. If you take the tour and ask the question you’ll be reassured that your “understanding” is still true and to the degree that we still need the farm for our biosolids it is. However, times have changed and making a profit has become very important for reasons already given and more.

    Meanwhile, if the Fed’s are involved with subsidizing the farm whose profits are subsidizing other city needs, it gets interesting. Makes a person wonder what will surface next.

  10. Insider, I have a little different view of this.

    The way I understand the use of interest money taken from Enterprise money doesn’t have as much to do with “profits” as it does with money in the bank. They put the Enterprise money in the bank and play with the interest money.

    However, more money in the bank means they have more interest money to play with. In that way you are correct, it has become very important that the farm make a profit.

    The more profits they make, the more they can offset the cost of operating the sewer plants and of course the more interest money they have to play with the more good things they can do for us all. WE ALL WIN.

    I am not sure what this Federal subsidy thing is about.

    EDITOR NOTE–As the GUARDIAN understands it, the subsidy–at least the most recent one–went “DOWNTOWN.” It is really a small thing, but points out the lack of financial understanding.

  11. Boise Citizen
    Jul 5, 2006, 9:03 am

    Dave – I am not sure who is not understanding what here. I know I am confused.

    After reading some of the employees comments, I was thinking they had to be confused or at least not correctly informed, but after reading what you (Dave) just wrote about the farm subsidy going to city hall I am totally confused. None if this is making sense.

    Enterprise, General funds and now this subsidy money showing up downtown. Can you break it down to something we can all understand?

    EDITOR NOTE–Can’t really help. It appears there is no clear understanding of who gets the subsidy. Bottom line: it is indeed confusing.

  12. It is interesting to note that many of our Idaho Rebublican politicians partake of massive farm subsidies. A very large percentage of the profit in farming IS the government subsidy they get every year. They just don’t call it WELFARE. They love to roll out the “save the family farm” rug to the voters who lap it up.

Get the Guardian by email

Enter your email address: