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The Family Farm Is Being Systematically Wiped Out Of Existence In America

An entire way of life is rapidly dying right in front of our eyes. The family farm is being systematically wiped out of existence in America, and big agribusiness and the federal government both have blood all over their hands. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the number of farms in the United States has fallen from about 6.8 million in 1935 to only about 2 million today. That doesn't mean that there is less farming going on. U.S. farms are producing more than ever. But what it does mean is that farming is increasingly becoming dominated by the big boys. The rules of the game have been tilted in favor of big agribusiness so dramatically that most small farmers find that they simply cannot compete anymore. Back in 1900, about 39 percent of the U.S. population worked on farms. At this point, only about 2 percent of all Americans now live on farms. Big agribusiness, the food processing conglomerates, and big seed companies such as Monsanto completely dominate the industry. Unless something dramatic is done, the family farm is going to continue to be wiped out of existence. Unfortunately, it does not look like things are going to turn around any time soon.

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If big agribusiness can do

If big agribusiness can do the job better and more cheaply such that fewer workers are required to produce the same product then shouldn't we support the idea of specialization of labor as free market economics.

There will be a place for the family farm producing non-GMO crops and sell locally as long as there are consumers willing to pay the premium for these products.

The fact that the farms are being sold because they are not profitable would be the invisible hand at work...

Remove all farm subsidies and allow the free market to flourish in its natural environment and see if these large companies want a part of these farm. Won't happen though because this is a symptom of the Corporatist system that has developed in this country. Corporations lobby congress (or convince the small farmer to lobby congress) to vote money to go to farms and then the Corporations buy the farms to take advantage of the influx of money.

Yes.. I have been reading some Milton Friedman lately... Only 20 years too late..


"There will be a place for

"There will be a place for the family farm producing non-GMO crops and sell locally as long as there are consumers willing to pay the premium for these products."

It the extreme over regulation of whole foods bought and paid for by BigAg in the form of lobbyist that jack up the price of whole foods. Small family farms can't even begin to have the influence BigAg does on State and Federal levels.

So, no it is not the "invisible hand at work". It is the heavy hand of government using force by penalty of violating law resulting in fines and imprisonment that is driving up prices of non-GMO not a lack of demand by the consumer.

If for any reason this "hand" is invisible, it is because people refuse to see.

"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters." Benjamin Franklin

That's why I'm proud to be a Granger

It's an old fraternal organization that continues to stand for small farms and farmers. The Patrons of Husbandry, AKA The Grange, established after the Civil War, also established the State and County Fairs, 4-H, Ag and Home Ec in colleges, Universities and co-ops.. most co-ops were run by Granges way back when. The Grange had women voting before the states or nation, here in CA women voted in 1909.

I learned how to write resolutions at my Grange, where my last two were passed by the CA State Grange, labeling GMF, and Allowing Raw Milk/ food products to exist... we had over 50 resolutions, not all pass... I learned Roberts Rules of Order and got practice using it.. and we have allot of classes, husbandry, sweing, cooking, canning, perma culture, bee keeping, on and on...

My county has 9 active Granges, we have dances, provide funds for scolarships and non-profits.. anything with AG, we do it.. If you live by a Grange, they usually have the best pot lucks before or after the meetings, mostely home grown foods.

And we have songs from the 1900s one of my favorites is "It's a Good Thing To Be A Granger".. oh and we have a 11 story building in DC, where we used to lobby representatives, until the big corporations and government kicked us to the side...

it has always been the farmer

it has always been the farmer that has been a nuisance for the collectivistic revolutionaries. They never knew how to deal with him. For he is an independent man that can completely provide for his family, relatives and even those that surround him. He therefore has been the target of every revolution that aims towards centralization whether it be slow or fast.

Look at a nations' farmer to see the state of that nation. I would say your farmers are not doing well.

Dutch Ron Paul blog: http://www.paulitiek.nl | Paul Campaign Google Maps: share the victories with your Friends! http://g.co/maps/rcw2y

As former Ag Secretary

Earl Butz said back in the '70's "Get big or get out". Stalin collectivized the Ukraine at gunpoint, starving the peasants off their farms and confiscating their crops. In the US its done with regualtions (for our safety, of course) and taxes. End result is the same: fat cats rule.

Jimmy Carter really hurt the small farmer.

I have friends who's families were forced to sell out because of legislature passed during Carter's presidency.

I have the greatest admiration for farmers.

Farmers work their butts off. Children who grow up on family farms develop a dependability that cannot be matched by many others.

BUT most of them grow conveniently silent when asked about farm subsidies.

ALL of them get fat checks from the government. Oh, sure, maybe Monsanto gets more. But ALL dairy farmers (at least) get big fat subsidy checks from the government.

Most people don't realize that. And I have a problem with ANY business that depends on government subsidies.

Oh really?

"But ALL dairy farmers (at least) get big fat subsidy checks from the government."

The family owned dairy farm I work on doesn't. They don't even make half the claims in exemptions they should.

Turn your caps off you presumptuous jerk.

"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters." Benjamin Franklin


Amazing how you do the accounting for all dairy farmers and know personally that each and every one receives a subsidy. Well, your claim is simply not true. I worked 3 years for a small dairy that did not receive any subsidies and, yes, unfortunately they sold their herd to a huge commercial dairy that most likely does receive a large check. Spreading misinformation is never beneficial to anyone.

I know how you adore beating your dead horse named "Subsidy", but for the sake of finding the truth, please stop lying.

Most Grow Conveniently Silent

..when asked about farm subsidies...
This may be due to "pride", and quite possibly they may even be fearful of being labeled as: "On The Dole".

But let me ask you something....
How silent are you about.....

collecting unemployment benefits?

"Beyond the blackened skyline, beyond the smoky rain, dreams never turned to ashes up until.........
...Everything CHANGED !!

I would have no problem admitting I was collecting unemployment

benefits, if I was collecting unemployment benefits. Employers are taxed a percentage of wages in order to pay for these. As an employee this money would be available to me as wages, if my employer was not required to pay it to the state. The employer pays for this insurance in my stead. Therefore if I was in a position where I needed this benefit I would certainly not be embarrassed.

But farm subsidies are not paid as the result of unforeseen events. They are paid each and every day - rain or shine, 365 days per year.

Wrong Answer

Are you trying to say that you've never,ever collected un-employment benefits?
And another thing;Your "concept" that:
"Employers are taxed a percentage of wages in order to pay for these." is a mistaken notion.
Do you really believe that those "percentage of wages" really entirely fund that sort of entitlement?
It IS an entitlement...the cost is bourne by the state and federal govt.
...A subsidy, if you will.
No different than the subsidy received by the farmer.
And I dare say that family farms are in the minority when compared to the unemployed populace.
You have been unemployed, yes?

"Beyond the blackened skyline, beyond the smoky rain, dreams never turned to ashes up until.........
...Everything CHANGED !!

Are you reading challenged?

"Are you trying to say that you've never,ever collected un-employment benefits?"

Read my post again. Do I ever say that I did or did not collect unemployment benefits? A fair reading of my post will indicate that I am not "trying to say" either one.

"And I dare say that family farms are in the minority when compared to the unemployed populace."

To be "in the minority" family farms would have to be part of the group "unemeployed" and less than the majority. Since family farms cannot be employed or unemployed your sentence, and your entire argument, makes no sense at all.

No offense intended, but you are not bright enough to continue this argument with. So I will not continue. I have better things to do.

Spoken Like a True Academic

You've visited this post for one reason only:
To bad-mouth the farmers who get a subsidy.
You've already admitted an abhorrence to their lifestyle elsewhere here, complaining about manure.
If you had "better things to do" you'd have let this one go.
But you obfuscate the issue in the OP turning it into a side-show on farm subsidies.
Did the farm-boys you grew up with kick your sorry butt in school as a child?
You "blow your horn" as a friggin' genius, a member(?) of mensa, yet you aren't honest enough to admit if you've ever collected unemployment, although you've asked for help here at the DP when you were "laid off".
(I'd imagine you'd have collected Unemployment insurance then).
Nor are you smart enough to make the distinction between the "minority" i.e. "family farms" versus the "Majority" which are "Factory Farms".
When the article states that 2% of the population is family farm, does that qualify ( in your brilliant mind) as a minority?
And finally: Did you comprehend the "concept" of unemployment insurance being "subsidized" by the government?
Labas Lytas Mr Smarty-Pants!
(That's Lithuanian for Good Night)!

"Beyond the blackened skyline, beyond the smoky rain, dreams never turned to ashes up until.........
...Everything CHANGED !!

Irrational People Scare Me

I admit it.

You said "You've already admitted an abhorrence to their lifestyle elsewhere here, complaining about manure."

Making a crack about manure smell on a country highway says I have an abhorrance to the lifestyle of farmers?!?!?!


Are the meds at low ebb, or are you just a hysterical sensationalist?

Why are You

Obsessed with Subsidies...it's not healthy LOL!

"Beyond the blackened skyline, beyond the smoky rain, dreams never turned to ashes up until.........
...Everything CHANGED !!

I'm Obsessed with the Constitution

Find me where the Founding Fathers promised farm subsidies and I'll buy your argument.

If its not Constitutionally supported, you don't have a leg to stand on.

And its not.

You are a collectivist, and you argue with yourself

You continuously use the word "ALL" when talking about farmers receiving subsidies. Well, that's just a lie. Your argument discredits itself. If all small farmers received all these subsidies you swear they do then they wouldn't be going out of business, now would they? Heck no, they'd have plenty of gov't (taxpayer) $$ to cover operating expenses.

I don't think there is anyone on this site that approves subsidies for anything. I don't. Obviously you don't...read you loud and clear. The reason small farmers are going out of business is not due to competition within the market or because they are receiving all of your money on a daily basis. Grain & milk markets aren't competitive, don't you understand that?? There is a set price for those items, turn on your radio and listen to the grain markets or the dairy update. Every farmer gets the same price, big or small. So why on Earth are these small farmers unable to continue a tradition that has been in their families for generations??? (turning on caps lock so maybe you will "get it" this time) Your answer is: REGULATIONS!!!! The government has imposed ridiculous regulations on the small farmer to drive them out of business and it is working! Is it feasible for an aspiring dairyman to fork out upwards of a million dollars to meet the regulations of a Grade A Dairy when he only wants to milk 50 cows? No. But that would be a fairly small investment for a 10,000 head dairy. It doesn't pencil out for a small grain farmer to pay the huge costs of acquiring a grain marketing license so that he may sell his grain to a retail market. So he must sell to a licensed elevator for a set price. There is no free market involved in agriculture, the USDA will be involved one way or another.

And the last beef I have with you is the whining about a manure spreader. Really? I think it's great when I see a manure spreader, you wanna know why? It's a wonderful natural fertilizer and I'm glad that they choose to use a natural product over a chemical product. I wish more farmers did.

I'll await your reply that includes something about ending subsidies, although the issue has already been discussed at great length and it seems that all replies are in agreement with you, and that includes me as well. Do I need to take your stick away, so you'll quit beating that poor dead horse? Or, as my grandfather used to say, "You're milking a dry cow".

Are you obsessed with me?

So you've read everything I have ever written, in this forum huh?

Thats more than a little spooky.

YOU made the distinction that family farms are a minority of the unemployed - which continues to make no sense whatsoever, despite your continued attempts to restate what you said.

And whether or not I ever received unemployment still has nothing to do with programs that systematically pay out billions in farms subsidies year in and year out.

I am against subsidising any business.

Incidently no farm boy has ever kicked my ass.

Now should I be concerned that you are going to stalk me?

I've better things to do

You should take another trip...
Back to the Ukraine...AND STAY THERE
Have a Nice Day Asshole

"Beyond the blackened skyline, beyond the smoky rain, dreams never turned to ashes up until.........
...Everything CHANGED !!

I'm talking to a girl living in the Ukraine...

she says they don't want him either.

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.
Friedrich Nietzsche


nice. boy, it sure got quiet. I am currently working on a family owned dairy farm. If there are any subside checks coming in they sure do a good job of not showing it! LOL!

I was going to lite into this guy for being so presumptuous but I don't think I could do any better than you just did. Thanks.

"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters." Benjamin Franklin

Thanks.."Jet" Claims to Respect Farmers

I actually do!
..then again, I'm just a regular guy.

"Beyond the blackened skyline, beyond the smoky rain, dreams never turned to ashes up until.........
...Everything CHANGED !!

The family farm, from a farmer's point of view

Live on a small farm. Bought several hundred chickens to free range. New coop with all the right things to ensure healthy chickens. Love animals and held, petted all of them to the point they followed me around. 50 of them were named! Sold the free range eggs with contracts to supply restaurants in town. No hormones, no antibiotics with no pesticides on my pristine farm. All invited out to see the great set up, cleanliness and happy, healthy chicks. Of course the hens wanted to be held by the visitors. Just when enough hens were old enough to get the quantity of eggs needed to be profitable, the Board of Health [Gov ruling] stopped all sales in the state. Restaurants were told the eggs were only to be bought from big egg producers.The only market open to farmers like me was the Sat. 3 month long Farmers Market. I was out my investment and had to stop. Every farmer with eggs sales went out of business in the state. IF you signed up to supply with one of the big conglomerates, you were OK, but it wasn't profitable giving part of your profit away. I cried when the chickens had to be given away, not because of the money but because they were all pets too.
The Gov became involved when large producers with filthy conditions and sick chickens made people sick. Not one case of free range chickens on small farms EVER causing illness. The disease came from chickens squeezed up in small areas, only able to scratch in their own feces. The antibiotics had to be added to their water because of the filth and strained living conditions. The hormones were given to make them lay a lot of eggs shortening their lives and another strain on their health. Also, unknown by most in this country, eggs are imported here from CHINA. Can't have the farmer treading on the toes of China imports or big Agra.



I am working on a family farm run by a man near 70 that has been steady at it for the last thirty years+. It was his dad's before him and his grand fathers originally.

Today it is on it's last leg. Big ag and gov regs. have made it very difficult to stay afloat and the animals are suffering for it. I think he would like to quit but just doesn't know how. It is in his blood now.

His son and I talk about taking over but it just so hard to make it profitable let alone something to live off of.

You loved your animals. I see the same thing in the man I work for. You have to love them to want to do this kind of work.

It is rubbing off on me. I have delivered several calves and am endeared to them now. I would love to live this kind of a life. I just don't know how it could even be possible. There are only five farms like ours left in two counties. It is the end of an era.

"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters." Benjamin Franklin

Sounds to me like an antitrust

suit should be nailed to the heads of the companies designing this monopoly. Did you consider forming a co operative with the restaurants, I'm sure they would prefer your product to one of questionable quality and might be willing to find a way to accommodate you as well as the law.

There are no politicians or bankers in foxholes.

The restaurants

probably wouldn't take a chance. Small restaurants are like small farmers--totally liable for anything that happens.

I have 4 chickens (babies) and I can't guarantee they aren't going to come into contact with some type of poison due to the surrounding fields. Push come to shove, the neighboring farmer would probably poison my chickens just to get rid of me. Yeah, he's an a**.

lol though it was years later, I found out the small farm people were making as much money as supervisors were at GM. As kids, arrogant as we were, we looked down on the farm kids. They had to get up and shovel manure, feed livestock, before they even had breakfast. Smug as we were, we didn't have to do all that. We babysat or mowed lawns for "real money".

the only way a difference is going to be made is by you, the consumer. Read everything you can, including "pink slime" and make your dollar go where it needs to go. Surely, any one living in a city can take a 30 minute drive to a local free range farmer. Prices aren't much different than in the store. The food can be frozen, even eggs, or have a once a week "cook day" and freeze everything for the week.

Just amazing how good the natural grown food is. Might have to allow your body to adjust, but it is worth the price.

As far as the cost for my 4 girls, well, let's say raising them myself, I could have bought--even free range eggs for the next ten years for the start up costs of these little devils. Let's not even talk about the time to change their bedding every other day, clean out their water, their feed, etc. But I love it.


I'm sorry for your

I'm sorry for your experience. It's hard to put yourself into something, especially something as beneficial as what you were doing and have the government on behalf of the corporations, shut it down like that. Now you know that the government is evil. Usually people have to get beaten up, tazed or have a loved one murdered by police to come to that realization.

So sorry to hear about your struggle

Although, to be honest, I'm not surprised! Here in Iowa, we cannot sell directly to retailers or restaurants either (we wouldn't want to challenge the big producers, now would we?). I don't farm, but I do raise a good portion of our food. Chickens are included on our property and I can totally relate how attached a person can get. I mean, for crying out loud, I have 2 hens that are nearing 7 years old and should have been put in the stew pot 5 years ago! But, no, they will remain here as pets, and they seem grateful by giving me a couple eggs a week :) They eat out of my hand and are the first to remind me if I'm a few minutes late for chores.

I'm so sorry that you had to get rid of your flock and your story is just another example of a small farm being shut down by regulations. Is there any chance that you could start a base of new customers and sell directly to families? I know that here in Iowa the egg market is fairly saturated and didn't know if it applied in your state as well?

I've read of similar battles and triumphs over the USDA, mostly in Joel Salatin books, if you haven't already read them, I'd recommend: "Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal" and "Pastured Poultry Profits". There might be a few ideas in there that would help you set up a direct market for your eggs, while avoiding the farmers' market. I just hate it when the bureaucrats crush dreams. And to think that our taxes pay their salary, it just makes me want to vomit.

I wish you the best.

True enough

The property taxes on land must be sky-rocketing as well along with the price of fuel.

Seems as though family ranchers and family farmers are and always being assailed.

ie. imminent domain, costs, regs, etc.

Heck, I even recall a Walton's 2-part episode from 1974 called 'The Conflict' that dealt with this issue.