Its Time For A New Agriculture Policy
By: Tom Chatham
Once again farmers across America are facing ruin. They are encouraged to grow crops at high cost and little profit and the only people that actually make any money are the bankers, seed companies and the fertilizer companies. Farmers are a pawn in global economics that allow countries to control others by threat of famine.
Farmers live and die at the whim of trade deals. They are the shock absorber for men in suits that care only about numbers. As go the farmers, so goes the nation. A nation cannot survive without its farmers if it wishes to remain a developed nation.
A great deal of pomp is made every time a farm bill is passed as bureaucrats hail the great thing they have done for farmers. They hand out billions in subsidies every year but the vast majority of that money is welfare for large corporate farming interests. It goes to men who work in office buildings.
The government is in a position to actually help the farmers and the population in general if it really wanted to. When farmers have sufficient excess production that they cannot sell into the market for whatever reason, the government has the ability to buy this excess and store it as a strategic food reserve for the nation.
This grain can be stored in facilities near major cities to guarantee supplies in the event of disaster and be rotated out every few years to keep it fresh. This can help keep the market stable and provide a guaranteed market for the crops. It will also give the government bargaining power in trade deals because they will hold the excess grain reserves in the country.
For a few billion dollars a year the government can guarantee the nation has a food supply in the event of crop failures. This is small potatoes when compared to the annual 3.5 trillion budget. Since they will be selling older stores into the market every year they will have income from this venture reducing the annual cost of the program.
Not only will this provide actual benefits to the farmers but for the country. The world food reserves are only about 60 days at the current time. That means the world would start to run out of food in 60 days if this food were not replaced on a continuous basis.
The people of the world have no idea how close they are to famine at any given time and this is especially true for Americans. Without our farmers we will starve and the number of farmers going out of business is about to become a national problem if we do not fix it in time.
The farmers do not need welfare to stay in business. They simply need stable markets that offer reasonable prices. A government storage program would go a long way to helping the situation. Short of that, a national awareness that compels individuals to store extra themselves would help as well.
We are heading into uncertain times where weather anomalies, prices and lack of farmers are building to create a potential catastrophe that will leave many tables empty. We can take many sensible and cost effective measures now that will ensure our survival but we are running out of time. Once our farmers are gone they cannot be easily replaced and neither can the food they produce.