Hot Take: Farmer’s Meltdown Doesn’t Meltdown Far Enough
This morning, friends on FB shared this article from Country Folks magazine: http://countryfolks.com/a-farmer-meltdown/
I’m glad I read it, but it’s completely silent on the root of this problem.
In fact, it makes a systemic problem (corporate-government collusion and corruption to drive prices down and profits up) into a personal problem (farmers just need to work harder and smarter and also make sure they take breaks!).
Too many American farmers are killing themselves and putting their families through hell, too, because they’ve got this cowboy mindset, this rugged individualism, and this sense that the markets and unfettered capitalism are AOK.
The roots of the progressive movement are in post Civil War farmers in the south and Midwest.
You can be a rugged individual and still bargain collectively for fair wages. You can be both a cowboy AND a boycotter. You can be a hard worker and still press for workers rights.
All wealth ultimately originates in the natural environment. Farmers are our first liaisons between the natural world and human households, the first brokers between what the planet can produce and what people want and need, and as those working in the trenches and on the front line the value of their work deserves to be recognized AND PAID FOR.
But farmers need to stop blaming only themselves, start fearlessly critiquing the system, and unshoulder the burdens happily placed on them by all-too-greedy Agri-Chemical plutocrats aided by all-too-cowardly politicians.
Elsewise, year after year, they just deplete themselves and their land, growing mostly debt for their family and profits for others.