In a recent past edition of the Western Farm Press there was an editorial about the poor functioning of the free market concerning crop prices, and in the Oct. 21, 2000 edition an article by Daryll E. Ray demeaning the laws of supply and demand.

Let me suggest that those crops that have the most government interference are the ones with the most problems. I am referring to corn, wheat, soybeans and dairy. Isn't it interesting that the market responds fairly effectively to supply and demand in crops like almonds (California's biggest export), poultry (eggs and meat birds), canning tomatoes and many many others? Am I the only one to notice these are the crops with the least government involvement?

Your magazine is big in cotton, and the world price of cotton seems to follow supply and demand very effectively, so instead of suggesting that supply and demand does not work, perhaps we ought to let it function.

I find it abominable that the government (read you and me) is furnishing massive amounts of money to farmers because the prices are too low, and yet the price of those same farmers' land is increasing. This means that the law of supply and demand is working and, unfortunately, it is the taxpayers who are footing the bill.

The word we continually hear in California is "have a contract before you plant," but in other areas it seems to be, "plant all you can, and if supply and demand work and the price goes to hell, the taxpayers will rush in and save you, so what have you got to loose?"

Is this nothing more than welfare for the middle class? Wouldn't it be great if Congress could not dole out our tax money so readily?