I think farming is like the grocery store industry. In the fifties,
there was a grocery on every block, almost. Supermarkets crowded them
out. Megamarkets are crowding the supermarkets out.
But, lo-and-behold, local groceries under different names are coming
back. They are specialized. Some are just a 7-11 where you get the milk
or bread you ran out of. You pay more at these, in return for the value
of not making a longer trip.
There are also now lots of ethnic groceries in many towns - even modest
sized towns in Iowa may have an Asian grocery.
The organic coop is still around in many places.
My point is that as farms get larger, there are places left for small,
specialized farmers just as there are small, specialized groceries. I'm
not particularly worried about huge farms unless the government
deliberately sponsors them or hurts small farms. Given an indifferent
competitive environment, the place where the action is is where the small
or medium sized farmer is trying to decide on the crop mix or practices
that will give him/her an advantage. This might be organic, sustainable,
or even conventional in practice, but I'd guess will have to be
unconventional in marketing. We have to figure out what value we offer
that we can charge more for.
Jim - Farmer - Iowa City, IA,