Originally Published: Openhearted Rebel
The U.S. Department of Agriculture just released its biannual report on farm incomes, and it looks bleak. Farmers are drowning in debt, and it’s being blamed on a poor dollar and dropping grain prices, but let’s look at some additional factors which may be bankrupting the farmers of the U.S., and some easy ways to save them.
-U.S. farms grow tons of government-subsidized GMO corn to be used for ethanol. This practice is killing our soil, and bankrupting farmers. It is also totally unnecessary since we shouldn’t be relying on oil for energy anymore. Costa Rica, Iceland, and Bonaire are three countries that are already running 100% on green energy. Let farmers grow hemp instead.
-Millionaires receive the largest portion of farm subsidies, not small farms. It’s time for small, organic farms to take their power back.
-Big business is killing small farmers. It’s due to Monsanto’s actions in a nut shell. Stop trying to blame it on the dollar or the cost of grain in China.
-Monsanto is also killing small farm productivity by killing the pollinating insects, and by cross-pollinating organic farms with GM seed.
-Small organic farmers are making millions by connecting with their local communities. If more people took up this business model, they’d be out of debt in a New York minute.
-Forget mono-cropping on thousands of acres. Jean-Martin Fortier, author of “The Market Gardener: A Successful Grower’s Handbook for Small-Scale Organic Farming,” wants to prove that you can. In fact, he already has. Fortier and his wife, Maude-Hélène Desroches, clear $140,000 in sales annually on their 1.5-acre farm, Les Jardins de la Grelinette.
-Retail organic food start-ups doing crazy good business prove there is a market for small organic farmers’ goods. Then there’s the dramatic rise in sales of organic foods and beverages from $1 billion in 1990 to $26 billion in 2013 and still growing. If farmers ditch conventional agricultural practices and go back to how our ancestors grew food, they can be solvent again.
-Some of the newest successful farming models aren’t even on land. They are underground or in abandoned, old car warehouses. It’s time to look at more creative ways of growing food. We’ve got a surplus of vacant buildings in Detroit while decent farm land has become hard to find. There’s a solution in this predicament.
-One Amish farmer has proven he could take his family’s four-generation, bankrupt, dying farm, and make it profitable againby going completely organic. He found out that the healthier his soil is, the healthier his plants are, and now he’s making serious bank. American farmers can learn from his example. Soil holds all the answers!
-As the WSJ reported, costs for seeds, fertilizer and equipment climbed so high and grain prices dropped so low that some farmers still lost more than $120 an acre. Afraid to come up short again, one farmer, Mr. Scott, decided last fall not to plant 170 acres of winter wheat, close to a third of the usual amount. U.S. farmers sowed the fewest acres of winter wheat this season in more than a century.
When farmers like Mr Scott suffer, perhaps it’s time to rethink farming in America.