US Family Farms Being Systematically Wiped Out

Tony Gosling tony at
Sat Apr 28 21:46:14 BST 2012

The Family Farm Is Being Systematically Wiped Out Of Existence In America
April 27, 2012

An entire way of life is rapidly dying right in 
front of our eyes.  The family farm is being 
systematically wiped out of existence in America, 
and big agribusiness and the federal government 
both have blood all over their hands.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 
the number of farms in the United States has 
fallen from about 6.8 million in 1935 to only 
about 2 million today.  That doesn’t mean that 
there is less farming going on.  U.S. farms are 
producing more than ever.  But what it does mean 
is that farming is increasingly becoming 
dominated by the big boys.  The rules of the game 
have been tilted in favor of big agribusiness so 
dramatically that most small farmers find that 
they simply cannot compete anymore.  Back in 
1900, about 39 percent of the U.S. population 
worked on farms.  At this point, only about 2 
percent of all Americans now live on farms.  Big 
agribusiness, the food processing conglomerates, 
and big seed companies such as Monsanto 
completely dominate the industry.  Unless 
something dramatic is done, the family farm is 
going to continue to be wiped out of 
existence.  Unfortunately, it does not look like 
things are going to turn around any time soon.

The way that the farming industry is structured 
today, it is simply not economically feasible to 
operate a small family farm.  According to Farm 
Aid, every week approximately 330 farmers leave their land for good.

Many old timers are trying to hang on for as long 
as they can.  A very large percentage of family 
farmers are in their fifties, sixties or 
seventies at this point.  Today, only about 6 
percent of all farmers are under the age of 35.

Most young people these days are not too eager to 
choose farming as a career.  A lot of young 
adults that grew up on family farms have decided 
that investing hundreds of thousands of dollars 
in a business that requires you to work 12 hours 
or more per day most of the year for very meager wages is simply not worth it.

In recent years, many family farmers have been 
forced to find second jobs in order to support 
their families.  Many farm families are 
constantly on the verge of financial ruin.  It is 
a really tough life for many of them.

Sadly, less than 25 percent of all farms in 
America bring in gross revenues in excess of 
$50,000.  The following comes from the EPA website

It has been estimated that living expenses for 
the average farm family exceed $47,000 per year. 
Clearly, many farms that meet the U.S. Census’ 
definition would not produce sufficient income to 
meet farm family living expenses. In fact, fewer 
than 1 in 4 of the farms in this country produce 
gross revenues in excess of $50,000.

On top of everything else, the federal government 
and many state governments just keep endlessly 
piling more rules and regulations on to the backs of farmers.

Big agribusiness has the resources to deal with 
all of these regulations fairly well, but most family farms do not.

With each passing year, the farming industry 
becomes even more centralized.  If current trends 
continue, big agribusiness will eventually 
control nearly all of it.  The following is from the EPA website

By 1997, a mere 46,000 of the two million farms 
in this country accounted for 50% of sales of 
agricultural products (USDA, 1997 Census of 
Agriculture data). That number was down from almost 62,000 in 1992.

In certain industries the amount of consolidation 
has been absolutely stunning.  For example, 
between 1970 and today the United States has lost 
88 percent of its dairy farms.

Another factor that is shaping the farming 
business is the incredible power that the giant 
food processing conglomerates have accumulated.

Today, there are 10 corporations that control 
most of the things that Americans eat and drink 
on a daily basis.  If you doubt this, just check out this chart.

The giant food processing conglomerates have a 
massive amount of influence over how food is 
grown in the United States today.  Small farmers 
that try to go against the tide often have a very rough go of it.

That is also true when it comes to seeds.

For example, approximately 80 percent of all corn 
grown in the United States is grown using seeds 
that have been genetically modified by Monsanto.

If you want to try to defy companies such as 
Monsanto, you are playing a very dangerous 
game.  The predatory business practices of 
Monsanto have been well documented.  Monsanto has 
taken countless numbers of farmers to court, and they are absolutely ruthless.

Plus, it certainly does not help that there is a 
constant revolving door between Monsanto and 
federal government agencies.  If you doubt this, 
just check out the chart about Monsanto on this page.

Amazingly, in spite of all this there are still 
some small farmers that are able to overcome all 
of these obstacles and run successful businesses.

But that is where the federal government comes in.

In recent years, the federal government has 
become absolutely obsessed with going after small farmers.

For example, a recent Food Freedom News article 
detailed what the feds have been doing to Randy 
and Karen Sowers.  They were keeping their cash 
deposits under $10,000 so that they would not 
have to fill out a bunch of paperwork, and the 
federal government came down on them like a hurricane

“Structuring,” explains, “is the 
federal criminal offense of splitting up bank 
deposits so as to keep them under a threshold 
such as $10,000 above which banks have to report 
transactions to the government.”

While being questioned, the Sowers were finally 
presented with a seizure order and advised that 
the feds had already emptied their bank account 
of $70,000.  The Dept. of Justice has since sued 
to keep $63,000 of the Sowers’ money, though they 
committed no crime other than maintaining their privacy.

Without funds, they will be unable to make purchases for the spring planting.

When a similar action was taken against Taylor’s 
Produce Stand last year, the feds seized $90,000, 
dropped the charges, and kept $45,000 of Taylor’s money.

Knowing that most farms operate on a very thin 
margin, such abuse of power wipes out a family’s 
income, and for a bonus, the feds enhance the 
monopoly power of Monsanto, Big Dairy and their supply chain.

At many other small farms across America, the 
feds have conducted military-style raids at the 
crack of dawn over the smallest infractions.

Some examples of this were detailed in a 
documentary entitled “Farmaggedon“.  The 
following is a short trailer for that film

The sad truth is that the federal government has 
been using your tax money to go after small farmers in absolutely vicious ways.

For example, the feds raided one Amish farm at 5 AM one morning.

So what was the big crime that the feds were so concerned about?

Well, the Amish farm was selling raw milk.

Oh the horror!

The feds seem content to leave big agribusiness 
pretty much alone, but they are constantly going 
after small farms in hundreds of different ways.

Did you know that the Department of Labor is 
instituting new regulations that will ban 
children from doing many kinds of farm chores?

Just another way to kill off the family farm in America.

America is changing, and not for the better.

Just like the middle class, the family farm is heading for extinction.

Eventually, the big corporations and the federal 
government will have near total control over food production in America.
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