I'm a little older than Senator Ernst though I dress younger, but that's not hard to do.
I remember the 70s though as a teen watching the horror stories coming out from the heartland on the news. Various scams, crop failures, etc causing a mass exodus from agriculture, especially among minorities though I doubt MSM paid much attention to minorities losing their jobs, farms. It sounded like another dust bowl, but one created by man, when loan officers either scammed farmers or were too inflexible in the face of crop failures, price drops, etc.
Though subsidies had been given to farmers since the 30s according to The Library of Economics, substantial hikes in payments have have happened since the 90s (the time period I can find firm data on). I'm assuming that the 70s and early 80s in Iowa, the belle of the corn belt, were tough.
The point is that the reason that farm kids don't have to wear bread bags over their everyday shoes (probably sturdy, American made ones because of the time period of Ernst's youth) is because the government stepped in and boosted farm subsidies.
In fact, the the farm states are propped us by massive government handouts.
The New York Times posted a piece the other week about how much more affluent red states are than blue states. It, of course, left out the fact that high per-capita government welfare in red states through the farm subsidies program is part of the reason. So, in fact, blue states help prop up red states, and the calorie producing corn and wheat belts are the biggest winners though our modern populations need more fruits and vegetables.
I could only find a listing of farm subsidies since the 90s, but the growth has been substantial, See chart on right from The history of American business
Calculator Soup says natural inflation from 1990- 2006 would make 9.7 billion equal to 15 billion. So the basic increased value of subsidies would have been 6.4 billion. If workers wages had fared so well we might not have half the problems that we do these days.
All thanks to government handouts to farmers those icons of self reliance. We're reminded about that every Super Bowl it seems.
Back to you Senator. Please make your information more complete,next time, and stop insinuating our kids should wear bread bags to school.
Further info on picture: Clipped and used via Creative Commons License CC by 2.0 thanks to flickr user Carl Wycoff (cwwycoff1 flickr id)