You have one good point: most farmers like to farm, not worry about markets.
And that's exactly why Barbara is right. The only type of government
program which will help small and moderate sized family farms is some sort
of supply management based on allotments attached to the land. In such
programs, supply is managed so that farmers get a fair return, farmers don't
have much worry about selling their crops, etc. and the taxpayers only have
minor adminstrative costs
The train wreck of present farm policy is resulting in a bipartisan $7-10
billion giveaway this year after a record $6.4 billion giveaway last year.
But the ag economists are so wedded to their faulty assumptions that they
can't even see the cost of those assumptions, much less their effect on
family farms and rural communities.
The few supply management programs left in the U.S. are the only ones which
have resulted in prosperous family farms and rural communities.
----- Original Message -----
From: Paul Schmitmeyer <email@example.com>
To: Sanet <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Monday, August 09, 1999 7:14 AM
Subject: Fw: Future Generations of Family Farmers
> Hi all,
> First off, you offer some very good points! There are some areas I
> like to offer my view points on. I have had some first hand experience in
> direct sales, that is farmers to consumers. The problem is most farmers
> not good direct marketers. They aren't good at it and DON'T want to do it.
> It's not part of their farming plan. Not to say you arn't right, it's just
> that most people won't do it.
> A note on dairying program like the one in Canada, most of them are
> happy at all with their program. They DO give up a lot of their freedom to
> do what they do.
> Go with God,
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Barbara R Buchmayer <email@example.com>
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>
> Date: Sunday, August 08, 1999 7:36 PM
> Subject: Future Generations of Family Farmers
> >Dear Marian
> >My view of where future farmers will come from is quite different from
> >Ann Clark's.
> >My husband and I have farmed for about 20 years, never quite conventional
> >farmers more like lunatic fringe. We have known a lot of conventional
> >family farmers and have seen some of them evolve into sustainable or
> >organic farmers. We have also known and been friends with the "new
> >"farmers, those that have chosen to farm but were not really raised on a
> >farm or even in a rural area. In fact my husband is from a century farm
> >and I was raised in the 5 acre suburbs, but I always knew I was to be a
> >We have recently started bottling our organic milk and selling it in a
> >metropolitan area. So after 20 years we have moved from intensive
> >grazing on our dairy to not only being graziers but being organic and
> >adding value as well.
> >I believe the future family farmers will be four major groups, depending
> >on how you define "family farmers". These groups being: traditional
> >farmers that have evolved into direct marketers or value-adders or both;
> >"new" farmers that are innovative but not terribly tied to the land;
> >contract growers that really are surfs on their own farms for some large
> >corporation; and large conventional farmers.
> > 1) The strongest or toughest of these will be the farmers that
> >have evolved or young farmers with traditional backgrounds that are
> >drawn to sustainable farming as the only alternative they and the land
> >can live with. These are the people who are committed to farming and
> >will work their butts off because they can see no other meaningful use
> >for their lives that can provide comparable satisfaction. These people
> >know how to work and we are talking 80 hours a week as being nothing
> >unusual. Some will evolve because they realize it is the right direction
> >for them and others will be forced by finances to change or get out.
> > 2) The "new" farmers will be around, from my experience about 5
> >years before they realize they don't have the skills, money, commitment
> >or whatever it does take to hang in there. They will add much depth and
> >bring a lot of diversity to the farming community but in the end they
> >really aren't committed to the land and will move on to greener pastures
> >in other career areas. These are the ones that want to farm, have a lot
> >to offer the ag community but really don't want to sacrifice too much.
> > 3) The contract growers will survive on their farms but most of
> >their freedom will have been taken from them in exchange for security. I
> >don't have a clue how large this group will be but I doubt there will be
> >very many "happy campers" among them.
> > 4) Large conventional farmers will still be around. There seems
> >to be no limit in size for these guys and yet they truly are family owned
> >and managed farms. How many dairy cows can one farmer deal with? Ten ,
> >twenty or maybe even thirty thousand. Its not for me but they are
> >expanding every day with the only limits in sight being laws governing
> >total numbers of animals per acre and "safe" manure disposal.
> >Sadly, I don't see a lot of farmers able or willing to be direct
> >marketers or value-adders or a lot of "new" farmers with the resources
> >and desire to make a go of it. I would like to see lots of sustainable
> >and organic farmers for the good of the land and future generations.
> >I think if we really want to have lots of family farmers we would have to
> >impose some type of quota system guaranteeing good prices for specific
> >amounts of commodity with any overage selling at much lower market
> >prices. Something similar to the dairy quotas in Canada with all the
> >pros and cons inherent to a quota system. It boils down to: Are we
> >willing to trade our freedom and independence for security?
> >How far are we willing to go to preserve the family farm?
> >Barb Buchmayer
> >Green Hills Harvest
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