by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
I must say that I have never understood why farming is the only business, aside from banking, that is being “bailed out” by government and the likes of the EU.
While I do understand that farming is important as it produces food for us and such but no other business, if it cannot break even and make an income is, generally, been given subsidies by the governments. Why then should farmers not be able to do without.
The truth is that the great majority of farms and farmers would not be able to survive were it not for those subsidies and that, in the main, is due to the fact that they are being encouraged to invest in more and more very expensive technology, machinery, and such.
It is the same in the USA where the government subsidizes the farming industry and the only farms who make actual profit are those that are not part of the industry, namely those that are worked by people who do not take such monies.
The Amish and other Plain People, who farm with horses and man-power only, basically, and without chemical fertilizers, and also others who farm that way, actually have healthy farms that produce an income well above those of the “modern” farms with their heavy machines and subsidies.
In addition to that those farms, worked in a rather old-fashioned way, which may also be the way we will be working in the future once more, create healthy soil by using animal manure for improving the land.
Modern farming practices, on the other hand, destroy the soil and soil structure and leach the goodness out of it, and at the same time leach money out of the pockets of the farmer.
We are being told all the time that we need ever larger farms to produce the food that the starving world needs but we waste so much food that we could feed the starving world several times over, and much due to the large farms, and the rest, more often that not, due to the supermarket buyers rejecting misshapen produce and produce with slight blemishes, etc.
also, we are told that we must accept genetically modified and genetically engineered crops to feed the world but this too is a fallacy that is being perpetuated by big business and governments which are in the pockets of said big business.
The proof is that small (family) farms run on old-fashioned principles are more productive than most, if not indeed all, the large-scale commercial farms, and while the latter need subsidies the former, such as the Amish ones and those of other Plain People do not. In fact the Amish and others do not accept such government handouts as they do not want to be beholden to the powers-that-be.
Subsidies, much like child benefit (UK and other EU countries) make people beholden to the powers-that-be and thus the same powers can demand how they behave, so to speak. In the case of farmers this means how they farm the land, what they grow and how much they have to leave for environmental schemes, though doing the environmental thing is not a bad idea, per se.
Farming subsidies should not be necessary in any way, shape or form. If a farming is a business, just like any other, than either other businesses, especially those that benefit us, such as local ones, should be subsidized or none at all.
It is also down to the consumer, to be very honest, as to whether we, as consumers, support our small farmers or not and we should find every way possible to buy direct from them and thus give them the money directly into their pockets rather than into the pockets of the middlemen.
Milk at the stores costs several times that per pint than what our farmers get from the buyers and there is no way that this has to be the case. However, the farmer, in general, is not allowed to sell milk direct and neither can he do the same with meat. He is not even, as used to be the case, permitted to slaughter on the farm.
Everything is geared to the middlemen and not the producer, as far as farming is concerned and this needs changing.
The taxpayer is, via the subsidies, supporting the biggest farms which, amazingly, can just about break even, and, as they claim, just about tread water, and that with the subsidies. Something does not compute here.
The only businesses that are being supported by tax monies are farming and the banks, via bailouts, because they, apparently, were too big to fail.
Farms and farmers are, that is true, the producers of our food and thus we need them. That then also means that they should be paid the right price for their produce in order not to need government handouts.
Time for a rethink...