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Jim Meade / Iowa City
Senior Advisor

Iowa View: State has turned into a 'toilet' for industrial ag

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20131014/OPINION01/310140043/Iowa-View-State-has-turned-int...

 

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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21 Replies
k-289
Senior Advisor

Re: Iowa View: State has turned into a 'toilet' for industrial ag

I find the comments in the Register from " R Wilson " have the tint of a previous  " irk " that was spewing numbers all over the place here a short time ago ---    

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Shaggy98
Senior Advisor

Re: Iowa View: State has turned into a 'toilet' for industrial ag

At least he isn't spatting his BS on this site for the time being.
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k-289
Senior Advisor

Re: Iowa View: State has turned into a 'toilet' for industrial ag

 Shaggy  - I thought there would be a little different twist - guess not ---    

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Shaggy98
Senior Advisor

Re: Iowa View: State has turned into a 'toilet' for industrial ag

289, I think RW has almost ruined his credibility everywhere he blogs.  It is obvious that material things are what is of upmost importance to him, or perhaps the knowledge of other people that he owns such material items.  The more I think about some of the things he has said about the Ag industry the more I realize he wasn't a farmer at all.  I said it once and I'll say it again, his departure from this site was a good riddance.

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k-289
Senior Advisor

Re: Iowa View: State has turned into a 'toilet' for industrial ag

Pretty much sums it up  - when someone operates his jaw like that it reflects on the general US population thoughts on agriculture and the headwinds that are now in front of us --- reading the posts in the Des Moines Reg. gives us an idea what we are in for and just lopping an answer of   "who gives a s*it " attitude does the industry a huge black eye---posting that he would sell for several million one might be careful or Smithy field might just take up his flamboyant  offer ---     

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hardnox604008
Advisor

Re: Iowa View: State has turned into a 'toilet' for industrial ag

Although I ask myself why the average resident of Iowa would care at all about supporting most of the current farm legislation and I can't really come up with an answer.

 

Actually there are answers as to why people do but they lie in the gray world of affinity politics and demonization of real and imagined common enemies.

 

When I say I can't see why they would support it (if they were me), none of them are me.

 

Here's a doozy that ALEC wrote to place on the ballot as an amendment to the Indiana Constitution.

 

http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Indiana_Right_to_Hunt_and_Fish_Amendment,_SJ_7_(2014)

 

Because as we all know, if industrial animal agriculture is threatened then the right to hunt and fish is next. And I suppose that many of the boys down at the Izaak Walton lodge will avidly support it even though places where people who don't own land can gain access to hunt are becoming harder to find and more costly and our area is more and more a great agricultural monoculture desert where scarcely a rabbit can be found.

 

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hardnox604008
Advisor

Re: Iowa View: State has turned into a 'toilet' for industrial ag

PS.

 

Also found some amusement in thinking about the aforementiond boys down at the Izaak Walton, many of whom don't much appreciate our Hispanic neighbors.

 

Another impediment in acquiring their allegiance with indiustrial animal agriculture, but never fear.  A few focus groups, a few tweaks to the talking pints and they'll be on board against the greater common enemy.

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sw363535
Honored Advisor

Re: Iowa View: State has turned into a 'toilet' for industrial ag

Mr Leonard needs to reconsider his attitude.   Sounds like my grandad yearning for the past and ignoring the bright future that change brings.

 

The term "industrial" farming is a dead give away to a whining attitude that will never see the picture clearly.  They are not new.  Always present, they are the folks who are normally just ----- passed by ---- in the ever changing farming world.  As my G..pa lectured me in the mid 60's how the tractor being the insterment of "big" farming--killing the family farm, I was quickly taken aside by my dad who said,  "Always look to the future and stay with the changes which will always be just around the corner.  If you don't you may find yourself 35 years behind at his age as well."

 

It is a choice, to view the world around us with amazement or despair.  

 

Jim,  Why do we care to change the "government dependancy"mentality of a guy like this, who can't figure out that regulation is much of the push for the very changes he dislikes.  It is a mindset of the 1960's and 1970's to seek refuge in a farm bill and try to control your neighbors with it.  This mentality will say and do anything to try to roll back society---- and will always fail.  Production ag will move on with or without Mr. Leonard.  

Iowa-------- is amazing IMO.  Can a state lead in Ag. and Industry?  Iowa seems to say "Why not."  And their children have great career choices in both ------- without leaving the home state.

 

Leave this guy wrapped around your fish or as packaging material.

 

Eventually we must elect folks who think for themselves and don't try to please every whiner who writes in a public forum.  🙂

 

 

 

 

Kay/NC
Honored Advisor

Re: Iowa View: State has turned into a 'toilet' for industrial ag

What is really going to sting worse is when we find out the new landlords are half a world away, and hold enough debt over US heads to make even EPA a quiet lapdog. I give it three years at the outside, and some eyes will be popping at what we see.
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