Is Big Ag really trying to push traditional farmers under?
First, let’s assess the situation as it is now.
– Most farms in the U.S. are still, technically anyway, traditional, family farms. Though the farmers’ kids, and even grandkids, are very often far from kids, age-wise, any longer. Economically, though, what those farmers do is determined by Big Ag and Big Ag-friendly (to say the least) federal farm policy. (I’m including Big Processing with Big Ag.) From 2018 (the numbers have probably bumped a bit, even more, by now):
“Agriculture is sort of like the rest of the U.S. economy in terms of income and asset inequality—except more so,” he explains. With the focus on production and no safety net, smaller farms have sold out and relatively few big farms have expanded. In 2015, about 65,300 farms making over $1 million in gross income accounted for 51 percent of the value of all U.S. agricultural production. At the other end, the nearly 1 million farms making under $10,000 accounted for just 1 percent of production. As farms have consolidated and turned to technology to replace human labor, jobs have dried up, rural communities have shrunk, and isolation has grown.
While the big farms have been able to absorb losses and weather ups and downs—at least until recently—the many farmers who have not gotten big or gotten out have struggled day-to-day for decades. Seventy percent of farmers make less than a quarter of their income from farming and only 46 percent have positive net income from their operations.
– The prices on new farm equipment are insane. I was recently enlightened as to the fact that the Trump trade wars are only part of the problem. It’s been going on for a long time. But, high equipment costs mean bigger loans, and the resulting usury leaves Big Finance feeling no pain.
– Speaking of which, overall dependence on lenders is reaching historic highs.
You could hardly come up with a better real-world example of the contemporary plutocratic ideal of “privatize the profit, socialize the risk.” Why on earth would the greedheads want to change it?
Because, I suppose, for the greedheads it’s never enough.
That said, despite a good deal of online searching I’ve been unable to find solid indications of a grand plan, among Big Ag and its allies, to destroy traditional farming and literally take over everything. Of course a lot of parasites, speculators and vulture firms and so forth, are adept at hiding their activities. But word tends to eventually get out. And, clearly, Trump and his cronies aren’t trying to wreck farmers. They’re so messed up and delusional that they honestly believe that what they’re doing is all for the best, and the only “problem” is that everyone else doesn’t get that.
Probably those at the top in Big Ag, Big Finance, and so on aren’t “thinking” at all along the lines I’ve been presenting. They’re just out to get as much as they can, any way they can, because that’s where their pathologically selfish asshole heads are always at. And until progressives can get enough voters to consistently agree with us, as to what to do on Election Day, it’s hard to see a good way out.
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