Victor Guest vic at
Sat May 16 12:32:59 EDT 1998

I thought these figures are an indication of the effect MAI has had on 
Agriculture in the US. And will have in Australia.
Even without MAI farmers in Australia went from 172,000 to 125,000 in 3years
mainly because of the manipulation of commodity prices and interest rates.
( From a Seminar supporting small farms.)
>Background: U.S. agriculture is undergoing major structural changes:
>Since 1950, the number of farms has decreased by 64% (to less than 2
>million), average farm size has increased 127% (to 491 acres), and farm
>population has declined to less than 2% of the U.S. total.  The largest 9%
>of U.S. farms control two-thirds of the land in farms and almost 50% of
>cropland.  Ninety percent of U.S. agricultural output is produced by only
>522,000 farms. 
>The farmer's share of total agricultural economic activity is now less
>than 5%.  The input and marketing sectors that dominate agriculture are
>controlled by a decreasing number of large companies.  Half of all U.S.
>retail food purchases go to six multinational corporations, and similar
>economic concentration is seen in the input sector.
>In light of these trends, the USDA National Commission on Small Farms (1998)
>has reiterated the benefits of small farms, particularly to local economies,
>and has recommended policy changes to strengthen their position in U.S.
>agriculture.  Among the recommendations is the implementation of "an
>interagency Beginning Farmer Initiative dedicated to researching,
>developing, and disseminating farm management models that emphasize
>low-capital investment, optimal use of skilled labor and management
>potential of beginning farmers, and high-value crop and livestock production
>and marketing methods."

Victor Guest   V.G.Guest                       Perth, Western Australia
victor.guest at                 1 Annato Street Greenwood 6024 
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