Recently the Missouri Farm Bureau of whom I am a members asked us for input in certain topics and allowed comment space for policy recommendations.
I'd like to share with the Front Porch Visitors what I wrote:
" As a Missouri farmer I appreciate the MFB's efforts and institutions to help improve living and business conditions. That doesn't necessarily imply that I applaud all suggested policies.
In particular, as an organic farmer and vegetable producer it troubles me that MFB's president, Mr. Hurst, makes himself more a mouthpiece of the chemical Ag-industry than the real interests of farmers. The kind of farming that he is defending, namely the mono-cultural row cropping system, is despite best intentions of many not only hurting the environment, consumers' and farmers' health, but also the farmers' pocket books, because it has consistently driven them into competition with each other by producing surpluses and thereby reducing prices. When farmers today are commended that in ever bigger operations, which were enabled by the application of chemicals, they are producing food for ever larger numbers of consumers, they should also be reminded that the curve of so-called increased efficiency can be read differently: It takes more and more consumers to make one farm operation viable since the profit margins are shrinking continuously.
My recommendations for the MFB are:
1) Discuss honestly, what past and present policies have really supported the family farm, even small ones, or competition with the end result of the last man standing in the long run.
2) include so-called "alternative " farms in your decision making.
3)Consider the serious possibility, that the high capital-intensive, fossil-fuel powered agriculture with its dependency on purchased artificial fertilizers and pesticides may not last very long any more after it has become clear that oil is a finite source of energy and not replaceable by anything else.
4) Resist the temptation to speak for the short term interests of a form of agriculture which will not survive any real shortage of oil, and look ahead into the future.
5) Be mindful of the fact, that farmers are a very small minority nowadays and cannot continue to stubbornly cling to concepts which make them an even smaller minority( see point 1). "
There you have it. We all have a responsibility in shaping our and our successors' future by what we say, do and demand. I'll continue that discussion about a different topic concerning our ' RURAL HERITAGE' soon.