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12 months ago

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I thoroughly enjoyed another instalment in the series about the Julian's farm. These are remarkable people. Last week showed the great horsemanship ( which is not diminished in any way by the fact that the Brabants are more docile than most other breeds),among other skills, of Jason J. who in five months made a workhorse out of a stallion, that had been a pasture horse up to his 8th year, and this week we were shown a family that works like a well-oiled mechanisn together.
The remarks about the struggle of a "small" farm( they operate on 250 acres, if I recollect correctly) at the end of the video are saddening.
Any economic system, that imperils farms like these, where people do everything right, must be scrutinized with very a critical attitude.
Oftentimes on RFD-TV we hear the bragging that America's food system is the most secure, safest and most efficient in the world. No, it is not, because all this centralization and dependency on ever larger operations makes us more and more vulnerable to any kind of disruption, think about large scale food scares, for example tainted lettuce coming from one single big operation. A military friend of mine says that the military sees national security issues when too much is concentrated in too few operations. Besides, these are real people whose livelihood is at stake. On a recent US Farm report show it was stated that presently 15 dairy farms a week are giving up in Wisconsin and Minnesota! No reason to be proud of our agricultural system, for these are not the sinister machinations of some evil people, but the effects of a capitalist agricultural system, running amok.

Dusty 4R says 2018-06-02 20:41:58 (CST)

Klaus, we do not by definition have a capitalism system in agriculture. That would mean a free market, which we don't have. The majority of farmers big and small enter into agreements with the government to farm. I only know 2 farmers ,including myself, around me that don't use the government for some kind of backup. This needs to be a larger discussion, but where's the free market for the milk producers also?

12 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

NoraWI says 2018-06-03 07:28:12 (CST)

I live in rural southwest Wisconsin. The loss of dairy farming (plus cropping, too) is due to a complex combination of circumstances such as the young not wanting to go into such labor intensive endeavors, the old getting older and dying off, city folks buying up farms for recreation, PLUS the ridiculous system in place for figuring out the subsidy for milk based upon the distance of the dairy from a certain town in Wisconsin (I forget its name at this moment), which benefits the dairies in California. The price of milk is also dependent upon some kind of auction dominated by the Kraft Company and its production of cheese. Never could understand that.

When I moved to this farm over 30 years ago, three out of the four farms on this dead end road were dairy farms. The milk truck came every other day to haul their milk. There were numerous other dairies in this Township as well as the surrounding townships. Now I would be hard pressed to name active dairies within the County... maybe 5 large ones left? There is little labor available to help with the 24/7 work, mostly Central American immigrants who are still willing to work this hard. The variability of income from a "bonus" price of $21 per hundred weight or more down to $9 per hundred weight, at a definite loss, makes the endeavor fruitless. Free market? NOT! The gallon of milk in our local stores costs more than the milk available in the big cities. Go figure!

12 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2018-06-03 10:33:17 (CST)

Dusty, by 'capitalism running amok' I mean the tendency that for the profit of fewer and fewer producers in milk production all other considerations are thrown out the window. You are right about the government involvement, but it is the wrong one. Instead of preserving a large number of relative small dairy farms our system allows dairy farms to get bigger and bigger. The so-called economy of scale asserts that such farms are more efficient because their inputs per produced unit can be smaller. But nobody calculates the immense price farming families, rural communities and society as such are paying: Loss of income, loss of jobs, loss of homes, increased environmental damage (think about dairies with 8000 or more cows in the arid regions of Arizona and California and the amount of water alone that needs to be transported).
Free markets as such are an illusion, because it is always necessary that there are rules otherwise markets cannot exist, nobody would want to get into any contracts, and for those rules there must be governmental protection and enforcement. As far as food security goes, we have to decentralize our system instead of concentrating it .
For preserving rural communities and farms not only as production sites but also as places where people live and work, we cannot any longer allow the freedom of the individual producer to expand by pushing others out of a limited market to be valued more than the general welfare. Milk consumption cannot be increased in the same way as gadgets because there is a natural limit of how much people can and will consume while there at least theoretically is no limit to how many electronic devices for example a household will buy.
We have an example here in the Kansas City area, where a feedlot operation wants to expand from presently a couple thousand head to 6999 despite the protest of surrounding farmers, residents and recreational facilities. The 6999 number is because above that other environmental and operational rules would kick in.

12 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Dusty 4R says 2018-06-03 21:31:59 (CST)

I agree, thanks for that story Nora. I just read that farmers receive just .14 for every food dollar spent, that's sad. This is a mess, hang tough and rattle.

12 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Dusty 4R says 2018-06-04 07:59:15 (CST)

Hot, this just in folks! 32 members of congress receive farm subsidies, on top of the list is Rep Doug LaMalfa (R-cal) , received 1,747,174$ . 50 members of Forbes 400 list receive subsidies for " farming" .

12 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2018-06-05 18:20:32 (CST)

Dusty, these people probably need that money, how else can you keep them from leaving farming?
That's exactly an example of what I meant when I wrote that we have the wrong kind of government intervention in agriculture.

12 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

NoraWI says 2018-06-05 20:26:47 (CST)

There's tremendous irony in that! The former owner of this farm put the land into CRP just before we bought it over 30 years ago. I dropped out of the program about 10 years ago because the FSA demanded I sign permission for them to see my tax return which I considered to be a big invasion of privacy. When asked why they needed to see my tax returns they responded... to make sure I wasn't earning more than a million dollars a year. Indeed! I got so angry that I even returned about $500 to back out of the program. Never again!

12 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Dusty 4R says 2018-06-05 22:18:38 (CST)

Chew on this, the CRP program is the biggest competition for beginning farmers. It keeps land rent high.

12 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

K.C. Fox says 2018-06-06 20:43:05 (CST)

there are some dairies that are moving out of Cal, AZ and ID some big ones moved to NE and northwest IA in the past 15 years. I have hauled milk barn machinery and hauled hay from ID to some of those in IA.
what about those pivots that were plowed up in the 70's then when it was no longer profitable to farm them the taxpayers payed to sow and grow grass on them now some of them are being plowed again how long until the taxpayers are told to grow grass on them again.

12 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

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