Excellent analysis! You wrote:
"From my own vantage point, the mindset that leads to
ecologically-sustainable ag practices seems to be risk-minimization.
This is quite different from the business/CEO/corporate mindset, which
is growth/gain-maximization. Risk-minimization leads to
subsistence-oriented ag as the stable base for more diversified ag
operations. Food that a farmer raised for his/her family's consumption
will probably contain less poisons and be healthier than food raised for
the anonymous market."
First of all, it doesn't make sense for a farmer to grow a single
commodity, sell it at wholesale and then go to the store to buy food at
retail. This would be as foolish as the CEO of General Motors going to a
local dealership and buying a Ford at retail.
The advice given out by those government agencies and programs you
mention are for one purpose only- to feed the agribusiness pipeline of
food into the US, Japan and other countries who are failing at producing
their own food. In the US, we've destroyed or paved over some of our
most productive soils and we're losing farmers all the time. We are also
moving our farming offshore, along with our manufacturing.
Also, the "farm development packages" offered by your government are
provided by the chemical/seed companies in the US. These are designed to
make farmers dependent on the US companies' products in order to
increase their sales, irregardless of what these do to your soil, your
farmers and your culture.
It's much the same deal as Nestle's program of giving free samples of
baby formula to new mothers in the hospitals of emerging countries,
making them dependent on it after their milk dries up. (Incidentally,
they give away just enough formula to last until a new mother's milk is
dried up, making them dependent on formula to feed the baby.) This
program is the cause of deaths of thousands of babies through out the
So, when they tell a farmer that this is for their own good, they really
mean it's for the good of the company supplying the products.
You're also correct in your analysis of CEO thinking versus farm as food
production thinking. Farms are not factories. We're not making autos,
we're attempting to manage a biological system. These days, CEOs must
think only in short term gains and how to construct a "golden parachute"
if things go badly. All of this thinking is based on money- an
artificial construct. True farming is longer range in thinking- how does
what I do today affect my ability to grow next season? And my children
and grandchildren"s ability?
I propose thinking of maketing in 4 levels and in this order:
1. Food production for the farm family.
2. Retail sales in the local area.
3. Value added products to preserve perishable items.
4. Wholesale of excess which isn't consumed on farm, sold at retail
prices or processed.
And farmers diversifying can only lead to better ecological and
financial health of the farm.
So, hang in there Roberto. No matter what anyone says or how much they
may ridicule your ideas, thinking the way you do will lead you to farm
and farmer health. The paltry sum that government and agribusiness
suppliers offer you for your health and the health of your farm isn't a
very good deal.
Vaya con Dios, mi amigo,
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