Picture
At times, forces in favor of Industrial Agriculture's status quo use tactics of fear, intimidation and lies in an attempt to silence their critics. We believe that government policy, regulation and spending can be critical in driving the new economic engine of local food production. That is if only the current political debate in farm country would allow it.

In this three-part posting on proposed rules to child labor laws governing agriculture, we have so far discussed the context of deregulation culture in agricultural circles as well as the true dangers associated with farming as a business . Today, we’ll be covering a very important issue that we feel gets far too little ink and discussion: internal political struggle within the farming community and the unfortunate fear-based resistance to government’s rightful role as a player in agriculture.

It is no secret that those of us who live and work in the field of farm and food production are highly political. That’s partially because government programs, incentives and services touch every aspect of daily life in agriculture. Whether through subsidy payments, crop insurance, conservation programs or price and production reporting that helps to propel livestock grain and feed markets, government is an ever-present backdrop in the world of farming. Perhaps this is why an occupation made up of two million people (less than 1% of all Americans)--most of whom have off-farm incomes in addition to their farming work--can wield such important power and influence in national politics. When speaking with one voice, agriculture is a political force to be reckoned with.

But there is certainly more to the story than that. Within the farming community, there are clear political power struggles and controversies that cause this theoretically unified Farm Block to break down. Agriculture is not one big happy family. Unfortunately the power of strong rhetoric and confusing principles often lead the Big Ag Elite and the rural anti-government crowd to dominate the airways in Farm Country.

One example resides in their attack of the Department of Labor over proposed child labor laws in agriculture. Should we really be spending our time, effort and political energy spreading misinformation about the supposed “end of agriculture?" Should we be (inaccurately) debating the shut-down of 4H, FFA and other Vocational Agriculture Programs? We don’t think so. Honestly, we think it’s a no brainer to embrace a little bit of the modern worldview and provide safe working conditions for children. Yes, we’re talking about children here, children employed in one of the most dangerous occupations where they are still allowed to work.

But find another couple of farmers willing to tell that side of the story. Where are they? We can’t find them. Instead, we in agriculture are stuck inside a Conservative framing machine that says “government is bad; regulations are bad; taxing in order to spend is evil.* Barack Obama and the Democrats are trying to take away your farm and have declared war on agriculture.”


(*Special Note: The Big Ag Elite does reserve the right to violate their principles when it comes to receiving crop subsidy payments and various government-funded crop insurance programs).

The current methods to control the debate in agriculture are taking the form of this weird quasi-astroturf effort to “tell agriculture’s story,” again attempting to paint the picture of one big happy agricultural scene without controversy or questions of legitimacy. Whether we’re talking about the U. S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (a conglomeration of the commodity groups and various industrial ag supporters that has likely shown up on your Facebook ad banner) or these Food Dialogue panels that attempt to quell questions of industrial agriculture production, this whole sham is little more than a PR strategy in an age of social media and constant communication. It’s there to preserve the myth that industrial agriculture is the only way to feed the world; that local food and organics are simply niches available to those farmers willing to take advantage of a few rich liberals.

One of the reasons why the local food response to Big Agriculture holds so much promise is the very different way it approaches these questions. Farmers serving up fair for local foodies tend to agree that Big Agriculture has failed us and that a cleaner, greener production system is better for our bodies and for society in general. Farmers markets are growing in numbers. Community Supported Agriculture programs are a shining star of direct relationships between farmers and consumers. Even grocers and Institutions like universities and hospitals are starting to carry local food. We’ve come a long way. Now, within the local food world, we’re talking about capitalization strategies and scaling up and infrastructure. Much of this local food scene as been funded in part due to government assistance along the way (granted less than we would have liked).

With this in mind, we want to express our disagreement with those in the farm and food scene that poo-poo government’s role in generating funding, support programs, regulations, rules and other means of service for the growing local food world. Would we change things about agricultural policy? Yes, starting with reforming things like subsidies to big agribusiness. However, we believe that democratic federal, state and local governments are one of the most powerful and effective tools our community has to address the failures of Industrial Agriculture while nurturing the opportunity available to local farmers and food entrepreneurs.

So that’s why we’re here to say that we support the updated child labor laws impacting agriculture. We say this as farmers who grew up on multigenerational family farms with big livestock and big tractors and small children. Under these proposed rules, children will still be able to feed the baby goats, work cattle, drive the 4-wheeler around and sit in the truckbed while kicking out some flakes of hay to the hungry animals. Our rural way of life is not threatened and we’re not scared of Barack Obama for hatching a conspiracy to round us up and drive us out of agriculture once and for all.

The real issue, at the end of the day, boils down to politics. The Farm Bureau, the Cattlemen’s Association, the American Meat Institute and others in the Conservative Big Agriculture frame all benefit from the fairy tale that the Democrats are in a war on Rural America and our “way of life.” They need this narrative full of misleading sentiment because they have no factual basis for their claims. And, to their credit (if deception can be a credit), these folks are in the drivers’ seat when it comes to setting the agenda for farm and food policy.

It’s time for a new narrative in farm country. Let’s stop looking to lynch Barack Obama (ouch-racial metaphor) and the Democrats as the lynchpin in a grand conspiracy of ending agriculture in America. Hell, let’s stop lynching government itself while we’re at it. That story might serve Republican politicians and corporate agribusiness very well, but it’s a big fat lie. Here we are wasting our time talking about false idols when we could be doing something effective like breaking up monopolies, banning corporate meatpackers from owning livestock and investing in local food entrepreneurs as a new engine of economic growth throughout our nation.

Of course, those actions would take rules, regulations, government spending and maybe even a little bit of “red tape.” And we can’t have that, now, can we?

This 3-part blog post on the issues related to the Department of Labor’s proposed child labor rules in agriculture is co-authored by Jake Davis and Bryce Oates. Jake and Bryce are both farmers and are co-owners of the Root Cellar Grocery in Downtown Columbia, MO. They are also co-founders of the Missouri Bounty Box, a weekly produce subscription program that links Missouri farmers with local folks seeking good food. More information is available at www.missouribountybox.com

 


Comments

I have to say I am very impressed with the way you efficiently website and your posts are so informative. Thanks dude

Reply
01/07/2013 00:13

My brother suggested I might like this website. He was totally right. This post actually made my day. You cann't imagine just how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

Reply
04/15/2013 03:49

It is so interesting. I want to know some other information about this site. So please give me this news quickly. I always will be aware of you.

04/21/2013 23:54

This blog Post provides me lot of knowledge Great to read, I would suggest it to my friends, the blog is pretty excellent, and exactly what I was looking for. Thanks

Reply
06/01/2013 06:26

Our aim is to provide exceptional real estate services, we make sure every client is completely satisfied. Whether you are buying or selling a home, condominium, or a business in mississauga, Aamir Yaqoob can get the deal done. We are proudly the experts in mississauga real estate

Reply
09/27/2013 03:00

I can’t settle for as true with you to any extent further. You scrutinize this matter fully, that is the purpose I inferior to you. marker your information processing system, and may be back at intervals the long run.

Reply
10/08/2013 07:15

I was actually captured with the piece of resources you have got here. Big thumbs up for making such wonderful blog page!

Reply
11/17/2013 21:23

I am sorry

Reply
10/01/2012 04:08

well, this is really a nice post.I really like the way you start and conclude your thoughts. Thank you so much for this information.

Reply
10/08/2012 22:42

There is not another good way to have good grade than to write the research papers but it is, likewise, real to purchase the philosophy essay from the an essay writing service.

Reply
01/07/2013 00:12

Nicely presented information in this post, I prefer to read this kind of stuff. The quality of content is fine and the conclusion is fine.

10/02/2012 23:37

This bridge is truly a hymn to stone and steel. I remember that was a real crowd on the walkway, awesome you guys made it.

Reply
01/07/2013 00:13

A member of the Democratic Party, he has been the Senate Majority Leader since January 2007, having previously served as Minority Leader and Minority and Majority Whip.

Reply
10/24/2012 05:40

Your article is very emotional, simple style, see you are a very simple person, we are very optimistic about you.

Reply
10/24/2012 21:31

This is very much happy for providing the great technology is visible in this blog.

Reply
10/25/2012 02:38

Your article is very exciting and informational. I am trying to decide on a career move and this has helped me with one aspect. Thank you so much!

Reply
05/31/2013 08:44

Our aim is to provide exceptional real estate services, we make sure every client is completely satisfied. Whether you are buying or selling a home, condominium, or a business in mississauga, Aamir Yaqoob can get the deal done. We are proudly the experts in mississauga real estate

Reply
11/20/2012 21:49

This is very much happy for providing the great technology is visible in this blog.

Reply
11/20/2012 22:07

Great info. I like all your post. I will keep visiting this blog very often. It is good to see you website.

Reply
cls2012
01/12/2013 08:51

Hi, i am actually from columbia mo & not a comment spammer or whatever sort of paid comments all the others are... I've been reading your blog most of the morning, perusing the various topics and categories. I do want to start by saying the agri-politics posts are incredibly informative and explained clearly in laymen's terms and in relation to the practical application of each - great! And while I realize that political opinion posts are just that - opinion - I am disappointed and a little out out to see that you all are so quick to discount and attempt to invalidate the opinions of "no government rural farmers." The current government agri policies prop up the system we are currently being force fed- highly processed, fake food that promotes so many of the countries problems. To believe that a system as Goliath, as entangled, and as outdated as is currently in place will actually begin changing to create a more level playing field (which is the opposite of what it currently does for small farmers) - while a fuzzy warm thought - seems no more foolish or far-fetched than the idea that government needs to get out of the food business altogether. While your take and knowledge on agri-politics is certainly interesting, it's more than a by polarizing. I am a huge supporter of local, small ag, organic produce, and in general a more natural way of living. I've been growing and canning most of our vegetables now for around 5 years. We raise our own pork and chicken, collect our own eggs, and spend the spring putting fish in the freezer and the fall harvesting and processing our own deer. We do our very best to feed ourselves, and what we can't do ourselves we try to buy locally. I enjoy shopping at the root cellar, but honestly I feel a bit dissuaded to do so knowing that you all support more government control of an already failing food system, and that you feel the opinions of much of the rural population - the true stewards of the land and producers of earth's bounty- are so out of line and antiquated. Checks and balances are essential to the success of our country, and one side shouldn't be discounted so quickly and confidently.

Reply
02/05/2013 23:09

I'm really impressed with this post .... the person who created this post was a big thank you man .. for sharing it with us.

Reply
02/05/2013 23:11

I wish to say that this write-up very forced me to check out and do so! Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thank you, quite nice post.

Reply
02/12/2013 02:34

If the workings children are not having any problems to work in farms then there will be no point in raising this issue.

Reply
02/14/2013 00:34

Its not just how you post, it is how the topic being build up and a worth time reading. Thanks.

Reply

That's true..agriculture are stuck inside a Conservative framing machine.

Reply

There are number of mediators between the Farmer and Consumers because of which Farmers fails to get the 100% returns of their efforts.

Reply
03/13/2013 00:24

well i think you make us easy to search of what we want. Thanks for the share.

Reply
03/16/2013 14:53

Very useful post right here. Thanks for sharing your wisdom with me. I'll definitely be back.

Reply
04/19/2013 07:26

Unfortunately the power of strong rhetoric and confusing principles often lead the Big Ag Elite and the rural anti-government crowd to dominate the airways in Farm Country.

Reply
04/19/2013 07:44

Agriculture is not one big happy family. Unfortunately the power of strong rhetoric and confusing principles often lead the Big Ag Elite and the rural anti-government crowd to dominate the airways in Farm Country.

Reply
04/28/2013 05:21

The following time I learn a weblog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as a lot as this one. I imply, I know it was my choice to read, nonetheless I truly thought youd have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about one thing that you could fix for those who werent too busy on the lookout for attention.

Reply
04/30/2013 03:06

Great beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your web site, how could i subscribe for a blog website? The account helped me a acceptable deal. I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear idea

Reply
05/07/2013 00:51

i am really happy that i saw this nice blog with this good article

Reply

that is why there is a law that prohibits adult to let the children work at their early age.

Reply
05/20/2013 00:15

I kept this network, and I was impressed blogs! The last part is extremely detailed and concrete, I note with concern that the information and facts. I am looking for this for some period details.mty

Reply
05/27/2013 01:05

Have you already created several brilliant points. They are used in almost subjects found no, accurate data, but here, and given the fact that the different sites web.mty

Reply
06/11/2013 00:31

Wonderful post! I think that the election round up will be more useful now. Good idea!

Reply
06/25/2013 01:05

This gives a clear account about the child labor that is still going on in various farm countries. This is a topic that requires a political debate as serious regulations should be taken in this aspect. This still continues due to various political powers that exist in those particular regions.

Reply
07/06/2013 01:33

thanks for share

Reply

hello everyone. Now of course I do agree with you with this and i am sure things will always be really into something great.

Reply
07/15/2013 23:02

The following time I learn a weblog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as a lot as this one. I imply, I know it was my choice to read, nonetheless I truly thought youd have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about one thing that you could fix for those who werent too busy on the lookout for attention.

Reply

Interesting article, except for the disturbing depiction.

Reply
09/15/2013 02:10

Computers themselves, and software yet to be developed, will revolutionize the way we learn.

Reply
09/26/2013 05:02

Frankly, we haven't analyzed this to the point that we stand firmly on that calculation. But from Edge Studio's perspective as a premier voice production and training facility, we can attest that, for many reasons, the voice over field continues to grow, and the need for voice over talent is booming.

Reply
09/27/2013 00:06

The police and guys in suits took us to a holding room hidden in the back of the station, while they waited for a higher ranking officer to come

Reply

Great work. I am hopping the same best work from you in the future as well.

Reply

If you love entertainment news and you want a job in journalism, become an entertainment reporter and provide the public with juicy celebrity gossip join research-paper.

Reply

When approaching your project, remember that there are three core elements to any project: thinking, research and writing. These elements are not separate, but each element influences the others. Thus your thinking should inform both your research and your writing, but similarly your research will stimulate your thinking and assist your writing. Your writing will also help develop your research and your thinking. So all the elements are mutually reinforcing.

Reply
10/21/2013 14:35

I really like this post. It's cool, that author decided to write on this theme. Seems like he's broadminded person. I would like to read his another postn with great pleasure. It might be really incredible.

Reply
11/13/2013 13:22

Great Post... Nice share for me, maybe nice for all reader of your post.. thanks

Reply
11/16/2013 11:09

Quick turn PCB & PCB Manufacturer–Hitechpcb specializing in PCB fabrication, Multilayer pcb, Aluminium PCB, High density PCB, HDI PCB manufacturing, Rigid-flex PCB, PCBA Assembly manufacturing in China.

Reply
11/16/2013 11:10

Multilayer PCB Manufacturer–Hitechpcb specializing in multilayer pcb, multi-layer PCB, High density PCB, High Density Interconnect PCBs (HDI PCBs), quick turn pcb prototype in China.

Reply
01/31/2014 05:36

It should be banned as the child are the future of our any country. I am offended to see many spam comment on your blog why don't you use spam filter for your blog.

There are several spam filters are available you can visit <a href="http://www.nisenetechnology.com/">www.nisenetechnology.com</a> for further details and you can also get tech related hot topics here. :)

Reply



Leave a Reply