. First, for those of us who feel that all people in this=20
country as well as world should be able to have access to nutritious
in adequate quantities - the unfettered workings of capitalism seems
insure that there are "haves" and "have nots=D3" Second, the natural=20
workings of the market and powerful banks, processors, transportation=20
organizations, and input suppliers lead us down a certain road of
and larger farms. Farmers are on a treadmill with perpetually low
for commodities (except for short periods of undersupply). This is one
the major obstacles to a sustainable food system! As important as
markets, value added efforts, and CSAs are locally - they are not the=20
answer for the mass of farmers. If we want to maintain (to say
of increasing) the number of farms, new controls or interventions like=20
supply management may be necessary.
"New controls or interventions like supply management" WERE tried in
this country. I recall very vividly a number of small (640 acres or
less) farmers who I worked for as a youngster back in Oklahoma in the
late forties and early fifties complaining bitterly about the
intervention of the government into their affairs and forcing them to
plant what they did not want to plant, or forcing them to not plant (or
plow under already planted) crops. You see, these farmers (young and
old) believed in a free market. They did not want any government
intervention; government agents who had degrees in agriculture but who
never farmed an acre, telling them what to do and how to do it. They
resented it like H***! And a number of them made predictions.
Predictions that have come true today. Most of those small farms are
gone. They have been gobbled up by huge agri businesses that thrived on
government intervention and "supply management".
Too many of today's farmers have grown too accustomed to farm
subsidies, milk and cheese overproduction purchases by the government,
land bank programs, and all sorts of other government interventions that
make up that 40 foot diameter pipeline from Washington which is stuffed
with tax dollars flowing outward from the nations capital. Those are the
ones crying FOUL today when those subsidies are being withdrawn. But
they are the ones sitting on a couple of thousand acres of accumulated
land receiving grants and very low interest loans while the true farmers
are either starving or have already disappeared from the landscape. Or
they are the others who have bought into the big lie that "supply
management" and government intervention will solve all our problems for
I would much rather have the government stay out of the agriculture
business completely. No "supply management" and no incentives. But they
also need to not tax the farmer out of existence either and not make it
impossible for the small operator to survive through weird taxing schemes
that make obviously agricultural land suddenly "industrial" and taxed at
a rate that is so high it costs more in taxes than the farm gross income.
And not establish "price supports" that are in reality government price
fixing schemes devised to enrich the already rich and powerful and starve
out the small operator. When your only market is your local "Grain Coop"
and they refuse to buy certain commodities, where do you turn?
No. The best "supply management' is a totally free market. But I can
almost guarantee we will never see that again.
--Dan in Sunny Puerto Rico--