Sunday, July 7, 2013

Too Hard To Watch

One of my friends on the Cafe forum just talked about the Iowa Public Television viewing of The Farm Crisis.  That era really makes me angry.  I saw good farmers go under for no good reason while the rest of us just watched.  Farm policies flat out failed in that era.

John Mellencamp's song, Rain on the Scarecrow epitomises the movment.  Those three young guys in the front of this video, I would really like to talk to.  They all have on the same seed corn hats but they speak a truth few of my neighbors had back in that day.  I guess that is why they are in the video.  They might be my age now and I know we could share some stories.

With the boom in land prices we have witnessed in the last 10 years or more, you have to wonder, will this repeat itself?  Now if you live northeast Ohio or North Dakota, the fracking we talked about yesterday might make farming more fun!

I think so, in some fashion.  I don't know how it will happen but I think it will.  The will of man is so greedy in the name of making a dollar at any cost, I don't see how human discipline can exceed human greed.  Do you?

The film notes that we lost half our farmers in this country in the 20's and another half in the 80's.  BTO's or Big Time Operators are everywhere.  Can this not repeat again?  $4 corn this fall and many farmers with little crop would take its toll.  Parts of Iowa and Minnesota don't look too good and we didn't see great crops on our 500 mile trip to New York.

Some STO's or Small Time Operators like me have done everything in the world to make a living but just farming alone.  I couldn't do what we've done the last nine years without my pension plus LuAnn's hard work.

Farming is hard again this year with too much water at the wrong time and not enough last year.  Those of us who have a good crop feel pretty lucky compared to all those who don't.

No one ever said it would be easy and it isn't.

Ed Winkle

6 comments:

  1. Until consumers are willing to pay for the REAL cost of food, it will only get worse (and they never will, in a global market).

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  2. " I don't see how human discipline can exceed human greed. Do you?" -- brilliance......best quote from you since "speak with your fields" when you were talking about coffee shop gossip...both are filed away in permanent memory.

    Proverbs 28:25
    A greedy man stirs up strife, but the one who trusts in the Lord will be enriched.

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  3. Great (and sad) post, Ed. I didn't know this part of American history.
    Never even heard Rain on the Scarecrow, thank you for the link.

    Gorges, people who buy organic at the farmer's market already pay for the real cost of food.
    That's one way. I don't think buying organic produce at the supermarket makes a difference though.
    It's more or less the same industrial food system, an organic lettuce is only ¢20 more expensive, a hot house tomato ¢30 more, carrots ¢20 more. Some other produce are twice more expensive though.

    I am a bit mixed up on the food prices. Sure, it seems cheap, especially meat like chicken that you can find at $1/lb for a whole chicken today or in family size packs, but usually by itself, it feels expensive. A ribeye steak is anything in the $6-10/lb price range. One pound of meat at a medium price of $8 is not cheap, it's very expensive. So the consumer price of food is one thing, but maybe we could also question the high cost of producing food, or the difference between what the farmer gets paid and what the consumer pays, or why we still import $90 billion of food (and growing) every year (excluding coffee, tea, cocoa, chocolate, sugar and even sweets) instead of producing it locally.

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  4. Them as has, gits. The way around here in farm consolidation, the way it's gone in industry and finance. I remember Allis Chalmers, Minneapolis Moline, and old boys who still spoke firmly but kindly to horse and mule, and used their last team for bringing in oat straw. Farming is bigger, better, faster, and devoid of soul. I absolutely support the small local operators who get up before dawn, bring their stock and produce to local market, and owe nothing to Monsanto, Cargill, or John Deere.

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  5. My age is showing my love for the past. No one farmed over 400 acres in our area and we all knew each other and went to church together. Police and drugs was unheard of.

    Watch the program from the video link above. I was glad the guy posted it in the Cafe but I was sad when I watched it. I remembered all of the families who lost their farms out of little cause of their own.

    US Farm Policy failed. I hope it isn't failing now but it has big cracks in it.

    Ed Winkle

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