Friday, August 15, 2008

My Agriculture Soap Box

This article scares the pants off me...(although most articles about the way that we are destroying our planet do...) Somehow when I was growing up I sort of tended to believe the end of time would be in a time far, far, away that I didn't have to worry about it. Perhaps that is the precise attitude that got us in the situation that we are in. Now I read all these articles, (albeit some are trying to alarm us into action,) and I feel like I am leaving a heap of tangled twine that my kids are going to be in a time crunch to untangle, and I am not so sure that they will be ale to do it.

That is a demon for all of us to deal with though. My big issue here, is the use of farmer. (I know, you are wondering what kind of happy juice they gave me yesterday to knock me out huh!)

I may be wrong here, but the majority of small farmers I know, are not the ones that are contributing to the major pollution of the waters through run off. I think that articles need to start qualifying the word farmer. Are they meaning the farmers that are struggling to compete with the huge Government subsidized animal mills and vast grain farmers? Because I think that is a major disservice to many, many productive family farms out there. Small farmers tend to be better stewards of the land, tending to use much more sustainable practices. (It only makes sense for them to.)

My problem here, is that we make this sweeping generalization that “Farmers” are the problem here…even if they don’t mean it. I just get a little tired of that. We create this stereotype of the farmer in the overalls with the wheat hanging out of their mouth being a polluting dimwit… I won’t even begin to fight that stereotype because it is so absurd. However, our local farmers are paying a price for the decisions that the agribusiness lobbyists have made for them and the average citizen in America with a refrigerator too full to care what is going on.

The majority of our subsidies are going to the industrial-scale production facilities rather than to help the little guys. The little guy who goes to the local Agway and Southern States, who is a member of Farm Bureau because his/her parents were, will continue to be saddled with this reputation of being the reason we will have no more blue crabs to go with our beer. And it makes me sad. I would be willing to bet the people with the perfectly manicured lawns, that use chemicals on them to make sure that they have the most perfect one on the block, use plenty of fertilizer...but appearance is everything, so let’s find another scapegoat.

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