10-14-2013 09:22 PM
After reading this article decrying the state of Iowa agriculture I despair of ever doing anything to gain the approval of this kind of critic.
Starting at the top:
"“Family farm” once meant a fruitful homestead built on an ethic of hard work, a love of the land, a spirit of neighborliness and a reverence for nature. "
I figure that as a farmer I have as much right as anyone to send my kids to a good college and drive a nice car. I don't owe anyone a low income and long hours so they can say, "look at the pretty cows in the grassy field."
After saying that conservation is as important on the 2,000 acre farm as on the 160 acre homestead, "But the painful reality is that too often, when size becomes paramount, conservation becomes a joke. How come?
Today, 62 percent of Iowa farmland is farmed by renters. Realistically, they are far less likely to have either the financial or the personal investment in the land and its preservation that the true family farmer had. The land’s owner, likely an urbanite, may be three or four generations removed from the ethic — or even the knowledge — of conservation."
What does he want - break up the farms and reallocate the land to the masses? You can't make a living on 160 acres and you can't make much of a living on 1,000 acres of grain land many years.
Then he lambasts crop insurance, a favorite target of those opposed to modern agriculture.
He blames the lack of legislative action for the lack of conservation.
"In 2010, less than 6 percent of the total of all goods and services produced by Iowans came from farming. Add the billions brought in by ag-related industries, and the share is still less than one-fourth of the total.
But the politicians run the state as if farming was the end-all and be-all of our existence and as if that almighty 10 percent must be accommodated at all cost. Why?"
"There’s a way out of the toilet. It means governing to serve the best interests of all, not the handful whom your taxes have made rich."
It seems to me that he hopes to pass laws that force farmers to operate as he wishes them to. The deal about this is that putting pressure on people is like pushing on a balloon. You make a dent one place but it bulges out somewhere else, maybe somewhere you didn't expect.
For example, it's quite likely that tying conservation plans to cro pinsurance premiums might cause farmers to exit the crop insurance program and thus remove themselves from compliance as well.
The effect of this kind of article on me is to further convince me that there is no hope and no future in trying to appease this kind of urban demand for some utopian farm landscape. Some would advixe reaching out and communicating. For me, who is old enough to figure I can hang on, the other alternative is to pull in my head, withdraw and avoid government interaction. I've already been out of all farm programsm except for crop insurance for a number of years. Crop insurance premiums haven't been paying out even in rececnt bad weather so it would not be too great a sacrifice to simply opt out of the crop insurance program.
The long term result will be that government agencies will force us to farm by their fiat. EPA, USDA, DNR, Corps of Engineers, FDA and other agtencies will begin imposing practices and procedures. I just figure I can make it another 10 years or so and avoid too much inconvenience. Younger farmers will get steamrolled eventually.
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