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The Devastation of Farm Country Is Biting Us All on the Butt

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/07/03/devastation-farm-country-biting-us-all-butt

Serving as FDR’s Secretary of Agriculture from 1933-1940, Henry Agard Wallace, who would later serve one term as Vice President (that’s a whole other story in itself), implemented agricultural policies that helped to stabilize the agricultural production and the farmers who faced tremendous hardships due to financial and meteorological forces well beyond their individual control. A personal hero of mine, Wallace receives almost zero coverage in retrospectives of our nation–like we are supposed to do tomorrow, for instance. Why? Because he worked for the People. Please, if you are interested in learning about American history, take some time today or tomorrow and read about this person who championed farmers as a major part of the backbone of this nation. Please also remember that Thomas Jefferson frequently espoused the crucial roles that farmers and agricultural productivity have on any nation.


We should encourage farming in every neighborhood-----and really re-think what we eat----get away from this mass production of soy and wheat. I usually don’t buy dairy from Wisconsin because they support the party of HATE!


Not entirely. We now have a Democratic governor who recently vetoed nasty Republican abortion bills that would have otherwise passed if we hadn’t voted out that Koch brothers stooge, Scott Walker. We still have a ways to go, though. No doubt about it.


Speaking of the farm belt and the rust belt, are Democrats going to once again concede these areas to Trump, the way they did in 2016? Are they actually going to address the specific issues in these areas that drove some to desperately vote for Trump?


Recall the number of GMO cartel operatives appointed by Obama to high level gubmit jobs. They made sure the GMO cartel’s license to steal has no expiration date, helping to usher in Trump and his band of pirates.


heresthe wiki on Wallace for a starter… very interesting and his public service is worth knowing about in terms of what is faced by the likes of those who today are trying to do the right thing against shit storm of corrupt politics.


True, and thanks to WiseOwl and yourself for bringing up this American hero of the people. The 4th paragraph in the wiki bio explains exactly why he has been struck from the history books.

Thanks again Jim for explaining one of the reasons agriculture is in such dire straits, the “produce nothing” class extracting wealth from a system to enrich themselves, while producing little-to-nothing for the system they steal from.

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He’s not Uncle Joe. He’s Massa Joe. Massa Joe is nicer than his racist friends in the Republican party.

War on Crime: Blacks imprisoned at 5x rate of Whites.

War on Drugs: 100:1 sentencing rates for crack (preferred by Blacks) vs Cocaine.

Rigged Trade offshoring manufacturing: Blacks with 2x the official unemployment rate of Whites and 2.5x the poverty rate.

Bankruptcy Deform: Student debt a $1.5 Trillion dollar crisis.

Uncle Joe likes to refer to his roots as public defender. He rarely mentions that his son runs a bank that cut a deal with the Bank of China:

The collapse of farming reminds me of the collapse of our manufacturing heartland as unfair free trade killed 11-12 million middle-class jobs, plus the spin-off in service industry jobs, except there, big-money coastal Democrats and Southern Dixiecrats joined Republicans to help badly-damage Heartland Democrats. Most rural farmers vote Republican.

Imagine living in an ever-worsening recession for 14 years as the jobless rate climbs from 5% to 40% and real estate prices crash by 80%, while tens of thousands of businesses collapse across a multi-State region, just to make a few wealth-addicted neoliberal Wall Street investors wealthier than their wildest dreams and create more work unloading ships in ocean coastal cities.

Basically Democrat centrists AKA moderate Republicans and Southern Dixiecrats would far rather keep losing to the Republican Party than have a modern New Deal / Great Society Democrat win, which could lead America back toward policies fair for the average American, no matter whether they vote Republican or Democrat.

Obviously there isn’t nearly enough money in the world to feed ongoing wealth-addiction in America so that is why our heartland is being systematically disemboweled, just to keep a few big money investors fat and happy. Don’t be surprised if heartland Democrats won’t vote for trickle-down Reaganite Joe Biden, among the traitors who voted with Republicans to so badly damage heartland America.

What is actually causing the demise of milk? Are people drinking less milk? Are they eating less meat? Dairy and meat farming is not exactly friendly to the environment, and everything in our economy has become one mass corporation, but what are other causes?

No doubt the traditional small family farms continue to suffer in our industrialized food system. But the big operations are no different from the Wall St crowd, in being well enough connected to profit while others suffer, paying the price, as it were.

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The answer is in the story, when it costs more to produce a product, than the compensation you receive for that product, makes it impossible to stay in business. It’s the same in all conventional farm markets, the farmer doesn’t set market prices, the “middle man” does, then steals the profit from the farmer. When ever possible, buy directly from a local farmer.

Here’s a great article by Daryll E. Ray, “Agricultural Policy for the Twenty-First Century and the Legacy of the Wallaces,” http://agpolicy.org/publication/RayLecture2004FromGretchen1st.pdf His book on the farm bill, “Achieving a Balanced Agriculture: How the National Farm Program Meets the Changing Problem,” 1934, 1940 is available online at hathi trust. https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Search/Home?lookfor=“Achieving%20a%20balanced%20agriculture”&searchtype=all&ft=&setft=false

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Yes, this is a huge crisis that’s snowballing, fairly silently, in the massive destruction of the infrastructure for diversity, resilience and sustainability. Unfortunatly, thought 30 years ago Hightower was the top guy on these issues, but he’s out of the loop today. The cheap prices have been going on since the 1950s, and dairy prices have been below full costs every year since 1993 (excepting 1993 by a few pennies per gallon,) and the major crops very similar since 1981. That figure includes a wage equivalent for the farmer and etc., so it’s a loss on investments in land, machinery, facilities and other assets, after the wage & etc. are taken out. The deeper cause is chronic free market failure (on both supply/farmer and demand/consumers-&-industry) sides, a failure of Republican/conservative ideology. It was fixed by the Democratic New Deal farm bill, (much cheaper and we make a profit on farm exports,), which was revived by Hightower & Jim Nichols all across the grassroots during the 1980s, in the Farm Policy Reform Act https://familyfarmjustice.me/2016/12/10/the-farm-policy-reform-act-of-1985/ and various versions of it https://familyfarmjustice.me/2016/12/09/family-farm-act-of-1987/ including current ones https://zcomm.org/zblogs/fact-sheet-farm-justice-proposals-for-the-2012-farm-bill-by-brad-wilson/ .

Yes, going after the rural vote is the most important political strategy against Trump and the Republicans. Democrats must again support a Democratic Party Farm Bill, with minimum farm price floors at living wage levels, instead of chronic free market failure, (covered up by subsidies). Farmers should not be forced to subsidize the loss of their value added livestock to CAFOs, or to subsidize junk food and export dumpers, as we have under Republican policies and programs like the “bipartisan” farm bills of 2008, 2014 and 2018, (each worst then the one before it).