Big Ag is really showing what a hopeless, corrupt mess it is
You know things are getting flagrant when someone as corporate-friendly as Tom Vilsack is getting worked up.
The war has only amped up the concern among farmers and input suppliers. Like the oil companies that cited the sanctions on Russian oil to justify steep price increases (even though Russian oil continues to flow almost without interruption), corporate agribusiness has used the war as a justification to ramp up fertilizer, seed and chemical prices even further, leading Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to ask the Justice Department to investigate whether “every penny of these increases” is warranted. Meanwhile, the farm media offers suggestions for how farmers, despite relatively higher crop prices, might deal with the increase in input costs: Use less, get your old tillage equipment out or, heaven forbid, consider manually pulling weeds like farmers used to do (of course, years ago, farmers didn’t run thousands of acres)…
However, the problems with this system didn’t begin with the war in Ukraine or with Covid-19. While this system works quite well for the multi-nationals that rake in profits selling the inputs to farmers and buying, processing and distributing the crops and livestock, for the farmers themselves—not so much. They are forced to buy at retail price and sell at wholesale price, all while competing against each other in a rigged marketplace. Here in the U.S., farmers are told they can and must feed the world by growing more corn, more soy and more livestock in confinement, even if that is not what the world wants or can afford to eat.
(In These Times)
This article details how speculators running amok in the commodities markets, having the time of their lives at most people’s expense, is a fundamental factor in so much that is going wrong. The Biden administration needs to go after those assholes. In fact, it should have done so by now. One hopes they’re not waiting for a more politically advantageous time, while people starve.
And farm media – all media for that matter – could really help farmers by telling them why they would do well to quit voting for Republicans or conservative (sorry, “moderate”) Democrats. They’d probably change relatively few minds, but there are places where relatively few is all that it would take.
I don’t mean to suggest that fixing the world’s problems, with agriculture or anything else, will be anything other than very challenging. But the first necessary step is actually pretty straightforward: Get right-wing conservatives out of power. And keep them out.
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