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American Agriculture and the Family Farm

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Family farms of America… the death throes into oblivion

(4th edition - October 2012) by A.O. Kime
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While farmers have always had to face numerous challenges in trying to make a living, be it by having to contend with the weather, pests, low prices and countless other farming-type problems, it is a 'natural' circumstance. These type adversities go with the territory, they are to be expected. However, once government got involved in agriculture it created an unnatural environment... one which became increasingly contorted. It became ripe for deviousness.

Although the original farm programs in America were well-intended (1930s), they evolved into an agenda that caused the near total elimination of the family farmer. Deny this devious mission creep as the authorities may, the facts speak for themselves. Of course, denials would be meaningless coming from those out-of-the-loop... which means most congressmen. Their voting records indicate they're not privy to the real 'goings-on' in agriculture. Ignorance in ag-matters is a factor as well.

It's doubtful even Obama knows. The effects of legislation aren't always apparent since the laws and regulations over the past few decades are awash in 'cross-purposes'... meaning they are purposefully engineered to have indirect effects which serve another agenda (or a third party).

While one might say the disappearing family farm is just a 'casualty' of today's market forces... except these forces are manipulated. The act of intentionally causing one thing to happen at the expense of another doesn't make the loser a 'casualty'... rather a 'victim'.

But is 'intentionally caused harm' a fair characterization? Well, since the USDA surely knew beforehand the consequences of their actions, the coming harm... then it was intentional. Certainly it was harmful. And the scale of harm was massive... farmers were ruined by the millions. So why would the USDA do this? Well, in order for America to compete in the world marketplace, efficiency comes into play (productivity). It became a matter of sacrificing (through policies) inefficiency... which meant they created an economic environment that wasn't conducive for the small family farm.

The USDA put the hex on inefficiency but wherefrom came this authority? It's the role of one's own initiative, not government. Whether efficiency or inefficiency, for the self-employed it's a personal business choice. And wherefrom came the authority that America should be running a 'business'... in this case pushing ag products to keep in check our balance of trade? More aptly... dumping. Farmers should not be a slave to our nation's import appetite.

It is clear, nobody should have the authority to create artificial environments which threaten small businesses. Nor the authority to wreck a way of life. Therefore, that our government intentionally inflicted harm on a massive scale is a fair characterization. How massive? Well, if the architects had to spend one year in hell for each victim since 1950, they'd be there roughly 3.5 million years. It would be longer if one considered the number of American farms lost since 1935 (see Farm Fact and Inventions).

The rights of the family farmer and their contribution to a healthy economy

Washington insiders (the 'establishment') would also scoff at the idea that operating a small family farm is a matter of human rights. While evidently an alien concept in American politics, the Europeans have long recognized it as such. At the expense of their balance of trade, they have gone to great lengths to protect their family farmers, that lifestyle.

If destroying one's vocation is not a 'human rights' violation (the method matters not), then the concept is missing an important ingredient. It is especially unfortunate for America in the case of the family farmer. After all, their lifestyle is a healthy lifestyle and a farm is the perfect setting for a 'substantive family'. Moreover, it is unsurpassed as a breeding ground for ethics and accountability... and life on a farm is more likely to produce responsible children. A rural lifestyle allowed to exist naturally (not depopulated by government farm policies) is critical for maintaining a solid foundation.

Instead, America is fast becoming a nation of rootless Gypsies. Memories of roots are still roots however and for many folks, 'rootless' doesn't apply. While roots capable of producing a lifetime of positive effects can be established in all walks of life, few ever question the value of roots to the land. Nor would anyone dispute that roots have a regulating effect on how one conducts themselves civilly. This just points out another benefit of having vibrant rural communities.

Intermingled with that European concept is the realization that the family farm is also the underpinning of a healthy economy... obviously critical for the well-being of a nation as a whole. Washington, on the other hand, thinks only in terms of accommodating lobbyists who inherently ignore the long term consequences of their demands. As a result, Washington has set us on a course towards being a third world country... 'average' being the most optimistic outlook. After all, averaging everything out is the effect of globalization but why surrender our American advantages? Without a change in direction on many fronts, never again will America see unemployment below 8-9% (15-16% if to count the partially employed). Book it... without major changes that range will be the new 'norm'.

In the farming sector, each and every one of the 7-year farm bills passed by Congress in the last 40 years has economically strangled most family farms out of existence. And, in effect, it was intentional. How? Through maintaining an un-conducive economic environment within our borders (artificially low crop prices). This claim would probably sound absurd to anyone not familiar with the situation, but sadly, it’s true. Once having had a front row seat for 25 years as a family farmer from 1973-1998 in southeastern Arizona, my article Farm Subsidy System Fell Victim to Mission Creep perhaps explains the agenda (and ultimate ramifications) better than any article ever published. At least I've never read a more accurate synopsis. Still very much applicable, it appeared in the Arizona Range News (Willcox, Arizona) on July 3, 1996 (not submitted elsewhere).

As far as the surrounding communities were concerned, the disappearing farmers was the equivalent to the total collapse of agriculture. Half the population in most small towns (a verifiable figure) which once relied on ag-business had little choice but to enroll in the welfare system... and some remained there for decades. With the loss of so many businesses, these towns, now of a ghost town appearance, never fully recovered because big farmers seldom buy locally. They simply didn't match the buying habits of the once many family farmers.

But that's just the half of it... dismal times produce and attract the transient-types. Many of these towns lost much of their social sophistication and drug use skyrocketed.

Shattered dreams

Although I haven't farmed since my farming operation (homestead) was foreclosed upon in 1999 at the age of 58, a personally devastating affair which cost me everything, including my home, my heart is still with those folks who remain. For their sake and for whatever good it does, I shine the spotlight on these treasonous agricultural policies whenever possible.

While dreams would naturally be shattered in such a circumstance, the loss of a business, but for many of us it was also the loss of ambitions. Dependent on one's age, trying again in the business world would often seem foolish (being on an unlevel playing field). In some cases, the idea of 'starting over' is repulsive... which described my feelings, It's a matter getting as far away as possible from anything government controlled. More specifically, to distance oneself from the traitors of Americanism.

However, repulsiveness wouldn't preclude me from challenging the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to an on-line debate. In particular, to debate the ethics of their policy which, on the one hand, loans money to farmers and, on the other hand, controls their ability to repay these loans. After all, subsidies equate to over-production which, in turn, causes artificially low prices.

In the end, it isn't any different than borrowing money from a casino to gamble when casinos control the payouts. With Farm policies now ignoring the needs of the small family farmer in order to serve the interests of globalization, treachery best describes the farm scene within America. While the result would be the same if borrowing from a bank, at least they don't ham-string the borrower as part of the package.

The squeeze

As an additional measure to squash the prospects for the family farmer, in just 10 years (1973 to 1983) the cost for pumping water using electricity increased 500 hundred percent (500%) and natural gas eleven hundred percent (1100%)... (see CECA). As explained further below, it is believed to have been 'engineered' in order to serve the globalization agenda... albeit cleverly disguised to obfuscate the matter. It also benefited the USDA directly... by driving the 'inefficient' farmers out of business would reduce the number receiving subsidy payments (a cost-saving measure).

But how could increasing irrigation costs have anything to do with making farms more efficient? Well, that’s where the plan gets complicated largely because other business interests came into play. Farmers were making a handsome profit when energy costs were low and these outsiders wanted a piece of the action. In the final analysis it amounted to the ‘redistribution of wealth’. This redistribution also had the effect of destroying the once powerful farm lobby. The main beneficiaries were big oil (higher prices), environmental concerns and those who hated agriculture’s political clout which stood in the way of the globalization process. The farm lobby wasn’t about to agree to artificially low commodity prices (the only means to pay for imports from China). The only alternative - the thinking went - was to break the farmers thus the power of their lobby.

Admittedly however, the picture I saw of this 15 years ago was clearer. Still, missing some ingredients or not, in light of the happenings it doesn't take much imagination for anyone to see a conspiracy at work. That's a no-brainer though... what ISN'T a conspiracy these days?

With survival at stake for farmers dependent on irrigation, most facing bankruptcy as a result of these astronomical cost increases, the so-called 'bail-out' of farmers as mandated by Congress (mid 80s) amounted to only institutional tokenism. Only a handful of farmers were actually 'bailed out'. Summarily ignored by the USDA an additional 90,000 soon lost their farms as a result.

Ancient history, you say? Well, the policy to eliminate family farmers (inefficiency) - which notably accelerated some 35 years ago - still lingers. The agenda of forced efficiency hasn't changed... only the creativeness of their tactics. Furthermore, cross-purposes means there must be co-conspirators. Likely 'big oil' because they would also benefit (higher prices).

The environmentalists would likely be on board too because, in their mind, 'efficiency' should (theoretically) reduce oil consumption and groundwater usage. Although the government didn't have to play the powerful 'environmental card', it was there if needed. However, the ultimate beneficiaries are the transnationalists (more specifically the "Sino-Americans", those who outsource to China or have factories there). The primary goal of the USDA is to provide cheap agricultural products (thus exportable in massive amounts) to pay for the endless boatloads of imports from China (much of it manufactured by the Sino-Americans).

While our Cochise Energy Consumers Association (CECA) webpage describes this business-killing environment in further detail, at first glance this hyperinflation may seem only a quirk. In turn, this 'quirk' might only seem the result of failed economic policies... except it affected agriculture far more than any other business sector. Although the cost of energy would affect everyone, high energy users are affected the most... especially if it equates to 25-33% of the total operating costs (irrigated farmland). Furthermore, the cost of farm equipment during that same time period (1980s) was increasing roughly 30% annually while the rest of the nation was only experiencing a moderate rate of inflation (6-7%).

One could only smell a rat.

In a nutshell, the unnaturalness of government interference led to the greatest threat to their livelihood the family farmer ever faced. For the vast majority, it was an utter disaster... total ruination.

Globalization

So tragic this drive towards globalization... and it serves not America to any meaningful degree. Looming instead now is social disaster... or doomsday for those of us who despise 'average'. Economic disaster is in the cards as well.

While one could claim cheaper goods as a benefit but at what REAL COST these cheaper goods? Well, without major changes, unquestionably it will put the American way of life into the history books... even though it's been an ideal sought by every society for millennia. Think about it... beyond words humanity has suffered, sacrificed and struggled for centuries to reach a point whereby common folks could have a satisfying existence... and for Americans this dream was finally realized in the 20th century. To surrender it would be a traitorous act beyond measure.

If they could speak, our ancestors who suffered so dearly would surely call it treason of the highest order. Likely too, an unforgivable moral sin. In my opinion, the architects and administrators of these egregious farm programs deserve imprisonment. No greater traitors were ever born. Again, to fully understand my 1996 article explains it.

Nor do cheaper goods trump the need for American jobs.

Millions of jobs, however, are only a pen stroke away. Only the presence of lobbyists can explain the reason no congressman has yet stepped forward to suggest that tariffs on imports would create those millions of needed jobs. With 'fair trade' apparently being an unachievable goal in foreign trade matters after decades of trying, most notably with China, we should reinstate tariffs (protectionism) to offset any trade unfairness. It's the only way America will recover its lost jobs.

However, in order to recover greatness, an economic environment conducive for small family farms is imperative. This is achievable by simply ordering a halt to government meddling in agriculture. Overproduction fears? Crop prices plummeting? Well, with the information highway, it won't happen again like in the 1920s... for exportable opportunities the USDA can only hope it does. Only by getting government out of agriculture can this ancient dream become a reality once again in rural America... which will benefit and prosper all America. We owe it to our ancestors, we owe it to our children.

A.O. Kime

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Resource Box: © A.O. Kime (2003)
A.O. Kime is the author of two books plus 70+ articles on ancient history,
spiritual phenomena, political issues, social issues and agriculture which
can be seen at http://www.matrixbookstore.biz
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Last modified: 10/25/13