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>From: IN%"firstname.lastname@example.org" 29-AUG-1994 10:49:52.53
Subj: RE: more bgh
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>From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Tracy Aquilla)
Subject: RE: more bgh
Organization: EMBA Computer Facility, University of Vermont
In Article <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org
(James Meade) wrote:
>One way to avoid mega-farms is for consumers and farmers to
>communicate very well so that consumers unique requirements are clear
>to farmers who are willing to produce to meet that goal.
>We're gonig to have a lot of vertical integration - that looks pretty
>hard to stop. But the more each of us is able to say "I want this and
>am willing to pay $X for it" and the farmer sees it is worth while to
>gear up and aim at these unique niches, the more likely farmers can
>survive without getting squashed.
>One of the things that gets squashed first in this whole discussion is
>whether farming should be a business or a way of life. I express no
>opinion here, but few of us really want to get down to cases on this.
>Another thing that needs to become a casualty in the ag arena is the
>government programs that support cheap food. We ought to let the
>market make as many adjustments as possible, rather than forcing
>little guys out of business because they can't raise corn in the
>economies of scale as mega-farms.
>At the bottom, people like us talking about this is going to have zip
>influence on the topic. It's people like us doing things that might
>matter, and even then we might get trampled by the elephants.
>Jim - Farmer - Iowa City, IA,
Yes, I agree, the price support system has got to go. Let the free
market rule. Unfortunately, without price supports for milk, it is generally
perceived that many of the smaller dairy farmers would be forced out of the
business. However, I am not an economist, so I am not sure what we can do
about this. This would almost certainly result in the conglomeration of
their farms by the bigger producers, resulting in the shift from small to
large-scale production facilities. This would certainly change the
appearance of the landscape, at least here in Vermont. How can we eliminate
price supports without crushing the small producers? Would banning BST do
any good for small producers? I don't know. One thing we can do is to buy
from the people we want to support with our dollars. I have started buying
my dairy products from the local coop, which is mainly supplied by small
family farms within the local area. In fact, it does cost a little more than
the milk in the supermarkets, but I think it's worth it. Those little farms
scattered across the state are part of what gives Vermont its character, and
I like the way it looks.
Tracy Aquilla, Ph.D.
Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
University of Vermont
Why should the so called "free" market be allowed to rule when
discussing agriculture. It sure doesn't rule in other segments of the
American economy. Every time a corporation gets a tax break because
they made less profit this year than last year - That is a subsidy.
When Chrysler Corporation and some of the airline companies were facing
bankruptcy years ago, they were given massive Federal subsidies to help
revitalize the companies. Examples of subsidies, tax benefits and
special privileges to the non agricultural sector abound. These
subsidies are justified with rationales about keeping the economy alive
We subsidize many public benefits which are deemed in the interest of
all the citizens and thus worthy of government funding. Public
transportation, some forms of medical care, public schools, law
enforcement and other areas.
Why is there a double standard when agricultural subsidies are mentioned.
If we are going to preach a philosophy of keeping rural America alive
and making it economically viable, then we need to dip into the general
treasury and subsidize farmers. It is not socialism (heaven forbid!), it
does not signal the downfall of captialism and it will not destroy
incentive. What agricultural subsidies will do is allow the public to
assist farmers to remain in business by giving them some monetary
assistance at times when the market cannot do it. Those who advocate
abolition of subsidies must face the fact that they will be hastening
the demise of small entreprenuers in agriculture who love the land and
want to make their living through farming.
In the urban sector, we finance small businesses with generous loans and
low interest rates. This makes it possible for all those small
businesses we patronize in our cities every day to make a decent living.
It spreads the wealth by allowing all those who want a piece of the
capitalist pie to open a business and sell a product. Real capitalism
should spread the wealth of the society among all those who have the
initiative to acquire it through their own efforts. Otherwise, we
spread the wealth only to large businesses, corporations, agricultural
monopolies etc. giving those people the best that this society can
offer and leaving the lower classes in a helpless state. Nobody tells
the small stores in a city (i.e. grocery store, clothing store,
greeting card store -whatever) to get big or get out. Why do we tell
our farmers to get big or get out. They have as much right to run a
business (family farm) and to get a piece of the pie as do those in the
urban sector. If it takes long term or short subsidies to keep rural
America economically sound, we have an obligation to pay those
subsidies. Isn't it ironic that farmers who make over $100,000 per year
are eligible for subsidies while small farmers are told that their
business is inefficient and thus they are not eligible for small
stipends that would keep them in business and help the economy. Is that
any way to run an economically sound agriculture.
There is no such thing as a free market. Restrictions are placed upon
the market at all levels to allow greater distribution of the wealth to
those who want it. Sometimes subsidies are given to assure that the flow
of wealth is equitable. Let's give that assurance to our nation's
farmers and stop the double standard.
These opinions are my own.
Agriculture Resource Librarian
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