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"Small Farm Extermination"
10-01-2009, 08:52 PM,
"Small Farm Extermination"
"Small Farm Extermination"

Submitted by:

Thomas Linzey, Esq. 675 Mower Road, Shippensburg, Pennsylvania 17257

Multinational agri-business corporations set out almost forty years ago to exterminate family farmers and take control of food production in the United States. That chilling proposition, which has been asserted by farming communities across the Country over the past decade, gained support last week with the release of a document authored by several agri-business corporations.

The 1962 strategy memorandum, entitled "An Adaptive Program for Agriculture", was drafted by a group of multinational corporations called the "Committee for Economic Development" and it lays out a detailed plan for the decidedly un-American corporate takeover of an American institution - the family farm.

Chapter 6 of the memorandum calls for a two pronged strategy, either "(a) leakproof control of farm production by agri-business corporations" or "(B)a program, such as we are recommending here, to induce excess resources - primarily people - to move rapidly out of agriculture."

One of those "excess resources" - an Illinois hog farmer named Keith Bolin - was one of the farmers who read the paper. In an interview done shortly after Farm Aid, Bolin spoke of the absolute control being exercised over hog prices by agri-business corporations. He explained that "Many factory farms are packer owned and packer controlled. And when the packers are short of hogs and they don't want to bid up for my hogs, they flood the market with their own and drive the price down. They force me to chase the market down. They use their own hogs to drive the price lower." Last year, Bolin lost thirteen months of net worth. Last month, he canceled his health insurance to cut his operating costs. Next year, he sees himself taking a job off the farm.

In blunt testimony before the Senate Ag Committee, he stated that "this is not about efficiency or inefficiency. It's about control of our food supply by a few multinationals who are not loyal to Main Street, or rural America, or the American flag."

What do the Bolins of the Midwest have in common with Franklin County farmers? Plenty. The "get bigger or get out" or "go corporate or go bankrupt" sentiment has pervaded all facets of farming - whether you live in Illinois or Pennsylvania. Whereas fifty head of dairy cows used to put food on the table for the family, a hundred head is now necessary to make a living. Hog-growing contracts leave the family farmer holding the bag for water pollution. Poultry farmers find themselves squeezed into building capital-intensive animal factories.

Under this new global free-for-all - with rules written by a small handful of powerful agri-business corporations - hog, poultry, and beef farmers are forced to compete with corporate factory farms in the Midwest and overseas competition using cheap labor and lacking any health or safety protections. Combined with homegrown corporate franken-food endeavors to splice artichoke genes into chickens, to patent seed supplies to force farmers to buy new seed corn every year, and to control the basic genetic building blocks of life, eating itself has become a hazardous affair.

It's a world turned upside down - one that favors multinational corporations over family farms, and one that favors profits over people and communities. The local result: a juice business in Adams County can now buy apples from China cheaper than ones purchased from growers right down the street.
If we don't find a solution which fundamentally rights these priorities, our communities will continue to lose their ability to make critical decisions over what they eat and how food is grown. Losing the ability to make those decisions means putting our health, our local economies, our environment, and our families at risk.

One of the solutions lies in re-building competitive markets - stimulating direct sales of locally grown food and building farm cooperatives which can compete for market share. As one commentator recently noted - our "free" markets are currently in shackles - with corporate producers building strategic alliances with each other that leave us out in the cold. The populist revolt in the 1800's was spurred by the same closed systems - and was driven by farmers and rural communities seeking to protect their right to make a living free of corporate control.

The critical piece of building markets involves catering to the blossoming consumer demand for organic and locally grown vegetables, fruits, and meats. Factory farms, by their very nature, are incapable of producing "clean" foods - free of antibiotics and hormones. Nor can "clean" poultry or hogs be produced without the intensive animal confinement so common to industrial farm factories.

The second part of the solution is more fundamental - reclaiming our democracy so that "we the people" can assert local control over food production decisions. It means following the lead of the nine Midwestern States which have adopted statutes prohibiting non-family owned corporations from owning farmland or engaging in farming. It means convincing our Township governments to take steps to protect our family farm industry. It means reclaiming our State legislature so that our interests don't get trumped by those of the dozens of corporate agri-business lobbyists which stalk our elected Representatives daily.

It also means asking "by what authority" do multinational corporations continue to pervert our laws, control our communities, and pull the strings on our elected representatives. It means demanding and challenging every decision, every law, and every entity which stands between us and a sustainable future in which decisionmaking power lies in the hands of the many and not just the powerful few.

In short, it means that we cannot build a diverse, healthy system of farming which provides a good living for family farmers without confronting the power and authority exercised by corporations which have a vested interest in building unsustainable food production systems.

If we don't accept that challenge, we'll all become "excess resources."

10-10-2009, 07:31 PM,
"Small Farm Extermination"
I'm glad that more and more people are buying organic around here (Chicago). It's helping keep our small farmers in business.
10-10-2009, 07:47 PM,
"Small Farm Extermination"
Yeah, I need to get on it and re-register with the local organic farmers collective around here (Saschen,Germany) since I moved into a new place.
10-22-2009, 07:36 PM,
"Small Farm Extermination"
A 2003 <acronym title='Canadian Broadcasting Corporation'>CBC</acronym> Program The Nature of Things with David Suzuki did an 2 part investigation on factory farming, The Hollow Men and sustainable mixed farm agriculture entitled Food for Life

<acronym title='Canadian Broadcasting Corporation'>CBC</acronym> Summary of the Documentary

Torrent for DivX Version

... maybe someone can up it to the ConCen tracker as well, I would but I'm seeding too many releases <acronym title='At the Moment'>ATM</acronym>.
There are no others, there is only us.

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