April 6, 2012
John Loepky’s story is one of Texan
self-reliance. Starting out in the mid-1980s with less than $100
in his pocket, Loepky first found work on farms and by the mid-
1990s owned his own land. Today he coaxes cotton, peanuts and
wheat out of 3,300 acres of parched soil in Gaines County,
getting as much as $2.4 million in revenue on a good year.
Many farmers today see themselves as small-business owners,
says Cindy Rugeley, a political science professor at Texas Tech
University in Lubbock. Republican identification with low taxes
and less regulation appeals to them; meanwhile, government
payments that have existed for generations “are
institutionalized — they’re part of business,” she says.