Hi Bill and saneteers! There is no such thing as a level playing field -
it is a falacy! Our work ethic, our desire, our imagination, our fortitude
determines the level of success we choose to accept. I look about me and
see farmers who are loosing the family farm and I see other farmers who
have to turn customers away. Diversity, marketing, imagination, risk are
all key ingredients to success. Agriculture is no different.
Agriculture in the new millenium will be either corporate or niche. And,
niche can be very lucrative. There is an expanding market base who wants
to identify with the grower and who wants to be assured that they are
recieving quality in their purchases. Food co-ops are springing up all
over the place wanting to purchase direct from growers who can provide
assurances about the quality of their crops and other products. Similarly
grower co-ops are springing up in order to pool resources to make value
added products i.e. juices, packaged foods, storage facilities.......
Farming is not dead however the farming mentality of 30 years ago may be
dead. As a newcomer to the farming community, I see how we as farmers need
to work together in order to improve our lot. Example, I have an
established client base wanting to buy my organic apples but they also want
organic garlic, vegetables, chicken, beef, etc. I cannot meet these
demands on my own but through a cooperative effort with growers of these
crops and livestock we can collectively provide this discriminating client
base with those products.
We as farmers and especially sustainable farmers can creatively resurrect
the farming institution. Think about the micro breweries who are making
inroads into the lucrative beer market formerly dominated by the big boys.
Similarly, new small scale soda companies are making inroads into the
lucrative soda industry. Farming is a noble institution but it cannot
stand still it too must evolve. Just my 2 cents worth.
Log Cabin Orchard
Osgoode, Ontario, Canada eh!
> From: Bill Liebhardt <email@example.com>
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: money in ag
> Date: Monday, January 24, 2000 2:11 PM
> The stories about what farmers make and how much M. Jordan and T.Woods
> demonstrate very graphically that the money made in ag today is in the
> marketing sector and not the production area. Whether fair or not that
> the way it is. Farmers make 1-3% on investment if lucky and the
> often make 15-20% on investment. For people in the production end it is
> not sustainable at present and we continue to see farmers leaving ag.
> There is not a level playing field folks and the overproduction-low price
> scenario is all over the industrialized world. We have a cheap food
> at the farm gate and from there the price goes up very markedly. I
> that if the price for food on the farm was zero-nothing it would still
> about the same as it does when the consumer bought it. The concentration
> of economic power off the farm in corporate ag and the long term govt.
> policies are against the family farm having a level playing field.
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