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For years, politicians have messed with and messed up agriculture.
So we need to stop subsidizing the farmers and they will not use pesticides or nitrates in the production of their crops? Fat chance. There needs to be regulations or those few will go above and beyond in cheating the system, and when those that don't see the short term advantage of doing that, they will most likely follow along. Just like driving the freeways. No one follows the speed limit, because it's at the point now where too many people have decided to not care about it, until a trooper is around to observe them. I want my water as clean as possible, thank you very much. And if the author wants the free market to play a part, if subsidies are withdrawn and prices shoot up for the shopper, they will most likely forgo that item as much as they can. That will only hurt the farmer more, since people will not buy as much of their product as before.
Farmers know more about farming than politicians know about farming. Hard to argue with that.
Assuming everything Anderson said is true, the issue isn't politicians mandating policy for the fun of it, It is that corporate farm interests and their lobbyists have convinced congress to enact farm legislation in their best interests. And since farm legislation spans a wide diversity of states, crops, and farm organizations, the government subsidies favor the interests with the most political clout. Nothing new there. Finally, corporate farm organization which has been the trend for years has replaced many of the classic family farm operations. Is this an issue which can resolved as part of this discussion? Should it?
"Farmers are not bad people, they just feed us" is a one dimensional view of a much bigger issue. Farmers, obeying farm policy, create abundant food, but, they also impair our surface waters and contaminate our groundwater in the process. The farm programs favor industrial-scale farming while individual farmers are the ones who actually tear out the prairies, woodlots, fence-rows and even pioneer cemeteries that destroy critical habitat and plow under heritage. If the argument is that modern farmers are not happy with a barren landscape covered by massive mono-cultures, or farmers won't tolerate polluted water, they can force the change of policy, but, so far they haven't.
The individual farmers, acting collectively under the Farm Bill, and with the support of massive public subsidies, are upsetting the ecological balance and despoiling our waters in pursuit of more acres, higher and higher production, yields, prices and profits. Anderson's analysis would be closer to the truth if society and policy makers could trust farmers and the Ag Department to protect our water and to respect biodiversity as much as they treasure efficiency in producing food commodities.
I believe in good farm policies and regulations. We need to protect small farms but as with small businesses, the corporate farms and large businesses have taken control of our politicians. They preach endlessly about protecting the small farmer and small business but they practice just the opposite. For proof of that look no farther than the Chamber of Commerce and the NFIB (National Federation of Independent Businesses). Millions of small businesses pay dues to the COC and the NFIB and get nothing in return because the leadership of these two organizations make huge donations to the Republican Party whose only interest is to feed large corporations interests. The ultimiate goal is to put small businesses out of business. Corporate farms do the same with massive farm subsidies they receive while small farms get literally nothing. The greatest threat to small farms and farmers is, quite frankly, large farmers. Letting farmers be farmers? Heck, large farmers and farms won't allow that to happen.
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