[Market-farming] the future of small farms

Tradingpost tradingpost at lobo.net
Thu Feb 8 17:46:10 EST 2007

Most people in this country have little idea what destruction Europe went
through in the last century. We'd do well to take a lesson from them and
start protecting our own national food supply. I know I wouldn't part with
my copy of the 1936 Yearbook of Agriculture, partly for the introduction by
the Secretary of Agriculture. What you say is on target about small farms.
In my view. 

paul tradingpost at lobo.net

*********** REPLY SEPARATOR  ***********

On 2/8/2007 at 5:01 PM STEVE GILMAN wrote:

>Most likely the European model is just as non-sustainable as the  
>U.S. one when it comes to agriculture. You can see where they're  
>coming from, however -- there's nothing like experiencing repeated  
>ravages of war and starvation on your own soil. The U.S. has never  
>come close, but the European memory runs deep. A main response has  
>been to do what it takes to support local and regional agriculture  
>for the sake of the security of maintaining a national food supply.  
>In many areas the farmers live in town because it would be foolhardy  
>indeed to put houses on farmland and there are appropriate  
>prohibitions. Of course we do that all the time here and the latest  
>USDA stats show yet another decrease in land under cultivation.
>	 Also, the U.S. has some of the largest subsidies in the world --  
>averaging some $20 BILLION a year for the past 5 year Farm Bill. Over  
>80% goes to big commodity crop farms -- corn, soy, cotton, wheat and  
>rice. According to an incredible series in the Washington Post last  
>fall, this dumps cheap food priced below the cost of production on  
>economies here and around the world, putting smaller farmers out of  
>business. Another article focused on a Houston surgeon who put a  
>mansion on former hunk of rice land. He receives sizable annual  
>subsidies because the subsidy runs with the land...
>	In this country, farm programs were initially a response to ravages  
>on our  own soil -- the Dust Bowl days and Great Depression. A  
>primary response to the soil squandering practices of extreme over  
>tillage combined with chemical fertilizers was outlined in the 1936  
>Yearbook of Agriculture, authored by some of the preeminent soil  
>scientists of the day. It reads like an organic manual, recommending  
>soil organic matter building techniques, cover cropping, minimized  
>tillage, etc. Since then, the farm programs have been captured by the  
>industrial-scale agribusinesses that got big as the smaller farms got  
>forced out. This year's farm bill negotiations may finally produce  
>some beneficial changes in what eaters are willing to support, however.

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