Skip to comments.Grange Leader Calls for More, Not Less Farming
Posted on 11/16/2001 1:13:57 PM PST by farmfriend
Grange Leader Calls for More, Not Less Farming
Calls Dairy Compacts Most Innovative Agricultural Innovation of 1996 Farm Bill
Cedar Rapids, IA (November 12, 2001) - Speaking to the 135th annual convention of the National Grange, Kermit W. Richardson, National Master (President), called on Congress to create a new Farm Bill that will " encourage increased participation in agriculture by the largest number of individuals and families through the broadest possible distribution of agricultural assets possible." Contrary to popular thinking that the United States currently has too many farmers and too much production, Richardson hammered home the point that, "Our nation does not suffer from having too many farmers. Our nation's food security is threatened by having too few farmers!"
Richardson called for legislation that will benefit a broad spectrum of farmers rather than favor the few and to reject legislation that will lead to continued consolidation in American agriculture. He also called for legislation that will allow the current generation of farmers to retire with dignity and to easily pass on farm assets to the next generation without onerous financial burdens.
Technical Assistance vs. Land Retirement
Keeping with his theme of "more, not less farming," Richardson pointed out that 92% of all Federal conservation dollars go to land retirement programs and that nearly every state is woefully under funded in technical assistance programs that "help farmers to produce food and fiber in harmony with the environment." He revealed that the host state, Iowa, had funding to cover only 37% of its technical assistance needs. Richardson strongly pointed out that current House legislation would only exacerbate the shortcomings in technical assistance.
Dairy Compacts Successful
Richardson called the creation of the Northeast Dairy Compact "the most successful agricultural innovation" in the 1996 Farm Bill. Dairy Compacts set prices on fluid milk that assure a fair return to dairy producers. A panel consisting of producers, processors, consumers and state government representatives sets prices. Compacts have no net cost to taxpayers. Richardson noted that retail milk prices in New England have been below the national average since the inception of the Northeast Dairy Compact and that the rate of demise of dairy farms in the Northeast has declined.
Legislation that would have extended and expanded the Northeast Dairy Compact and created a Southern Compact got caught up in disputes over committee jurisdictions in Congress. As a result, the Northeast compact expired on September 30 and new legislation has stalled. Richardson appealed to Congress to resolve the jurisdictional disputes between committees and to pass this legislation that "will pay tremendous dividend to family farmers in the future."
Need for "Check Off" Choice
Noting that U.S. pork producers recently voted to end mandatory assessments for a national research and promotion program, Richardson depicted current "check off" programs as too rigid to meet the needs of today's farmers. He believes that the programs fail to exploit specialized production processes that enable farmers to create value-added products within their commodities. For example, organic producers may want their check off dollars spent on promoting the organic category rather than the entire commodity. He sees a need for more direct input by farmers on how check-off dollars are spent and says that government appointed promotion boards alienate many farmers who have been mandated to make key decisions on what and how they farm under the "Freedom to Farm" concept.
Unrealistic Environmental Goals
Last Spring, the Federal government cut off irrigation to 1,500 farmers in the Northern California/Southern Oregon Klamath Basin in order to preserve endangered sucker fish and salmon. Richardson termed this "the zealous pursuit of unrealistic environmental goals" that is causing severe damage to farms and industries important to our country. "Responsible stewardship recognizes a balance between use and conservation. We will not accept that Americans must sacrifice their prosperity or surrender their constitutional rights in order to preserve our environment," he stated. Richardson told the audience that the Grange has labored for over a decade for amendments to the Environmental Species Act and for fair compensation for those who have been denied use of their land by the Act.
Opposition to the Nestle/Ralston Purina Merger
In July, the National Grange joined leading consumer groups in opposition to the $10.1 billion merger between Swiss based Nestle and U.S. based Ralston Purina. The merger would create the largest pet food company in the world. While the consumer groups focused on the potential impact on consumer prices, the Grange highlighted the fact that the merged company would have the power to set prices for the basic commodities used in pet foods to the detriment of farmers and other suppliers. He believes that the Grange has been successful in getting the Federal Trade Commission to look beyond just the impact on consumer prices and to consider the merger's potential damage to farmers and suppliers. The Grange is also asking that the FTC seek assistance from USDA in measuring the merger's potential impact on rural America.
Founded in 1867, the Grange was originally a farmer's organization. Over the years it has expanded its advocacy to issues affecting rural America in general. One such issue is advanced telecommunications for rural America, which has been ignored by the telecommunications giants for the more lucrative urban markets. Accordingly, the Grange is supporting legislation that would allow local telephone companies to supply broadband Internet services to their existing rural customers. Current, "misguided" government regulations do not allow this and leave the field to the cable companies that are not interested in rural America. Richardson called access to advances telecommunications as important to rural America in the 21st Century as were universal mail, electricity and telephone service in the past century. The Grange was instrumental in obtaining all those services for rural America.
Founded in 1867, the National Grange is this nation's oldest general farm and rural public interest organization. The National Grange currently represents approximately 300,000 members affiliated with 3,400 local, county and state Grange chapters across the nation. The National Grange will hold its 135th Annual Convention at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cedar Rapids, IA November 12-18, 2001. At that time, Grange delegates from across the nation will adopt grassroots policy positions related to the next Farm Bill and other rural issues.
"It," being the panic which the Clintonistas will stir up, about a new world wide famine ... and the "need" for nationalizing farmland in order to bid the acerage out to "food maintenance organizations."
Under whatever legislation which will be enacted --- and in the large print appearing to be pro-private farms --- will be furtherance of C.A.R.A., etc.
The Grange must take its case to the people, not to the government.
While the Congress would love to "give" broadband to the countryside, in exchange for votes and land.
I think posting this on FR falls into the "taking it to the people" catagory.
Speaking to the 135th annual convention of the National Grange,
I call that "taking it to the people".
P.S. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if we haven't created a new market for American peanut butter!
I am sure they are nice folks. From what counties are they? Do you recall their names? (I ask because I may know of them from my involvement with 4-H and fair livestock judging.)
Even in the heart of this still rural, conservative, farm country the faint hint of population management would be considered heresy. It is simply the God given, constitutional right of every American to plunk a house on two and a half acres and raise lawn.
The imposition of growth boundries by even a simple remedy of minimum parcel size is quickly circumvented by the corruption associated with housing development at the local, political level.
In central California incentives to hasten the increase in the number of farming operations is mute because the suburbanites are consuming the land.
FYI Rudder, of that $14 billion, we import of $8 billion worth of fish and export $2 billion.
Not so. Sprawl is created by cheap land. Cheap land is created by depreciating the value of alternative uses, such as agriculture and forestry. That is largely done with regulatory costs. Environmentalists have become witless participants in an enormous real estate scam.
That's for sure, and those trade figures you posted are testimony to the effects of that.
The city boundry sneaks up on the 20 acer farmer and he is then included in a "sphere of influence" or within the city limits themselves. This imposes additional restrictions and costs on his operation.
A developer then offers the struggling, small farmer a substantial, up front, cash offer, for an option to purchase his land at an inflated price at a future date. Typically about $2k per acre cash for an option to purchase in two to five years at triple the going rate for ag land.
When the option deadline nears the farmer realizes that he can get ten times the ag value but too late. He has to settle for the "reduced" rate. Continued farming is not an option when surrounded by homes, shopping centers, the neighborhood kids and a metered water supply.
The question is: Why? The easier to make sandwiches? God, this IS like the last days of the Roman Empire with the Huns coming over the hill. Are we really THAT lazy that we can't stick a knife in a jar and then smear it on bread? I despair for America ........
1. The political power of the environmental groups will not diminish.
2. The political power of the tribes will continue to rise. Often the tribes are aligned with the enviros but not always.
3. Genetic engineering will increase yields and likely develop plants that will grow in places that are not now farmable.
4. Water supplies will continue to shrink and prices will go up.
5. Non-point pollution regs are over the horizon.
6. Imported crops will continue to be a problem.
Chackout subsidy data base at www.ewg.org
I mean a bump in the afternoon.
Make that.......Oh well, I give up.