Across the country, farmers are struggling with particularly difficult financial realities. The past year has seen extreme flooding in the Midwest and drought in the West, a tariff war that resulted in commodity prices plummeting, and falling land value.
That combination of factors has left some wondering about the health of Americaâ€™s farming economy, and worrying that the country may be headed toward a farm crisis like the one seen in the 1980s, when farmers experienced mass foreclosures. Testifying before the House Agriculture Committee in February, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue sounded the alarm on debt. â€śFarm debt has been rising more rapidly over the last five years, increasing by 30 percent since 2013â€”up from $315 billion to $409 billion, according to USDA data, and up from $385 billion in just the last yearâ€”to levels seen in the 1980s,â€ť Perdue said.
Nothing in the US Constitution says farmers are some sort of protected class. If you own a pencil, you need to read Lawrence Reed's famous essay, "I, Pencil" to see how complicated it is to produce, requiring the work and inputs from people around the world. If you drink coffee or tea, ask yourself where that coffee or tea came from? American farmers? Only if you are paying $40 a pound for Hawaaian Kona coffee. Tea, nope, not a US product. Another farmer in a remote part of the world had to produce that coffee or tea. What pesticides or fertilizers were used? Can you trust any of those agencies who 'certify' that something is organic or 'fair-trade'?
Emily Anne Epstein wrote: â€śSociety is generally removed from the processes in which bread and hundreds of other products reach our baskets,â€ť Ross said. "We must protect, nurture, and celebrate the salt of the earth.â€ť
excerpts from, "Faith, Family, and the American Farmer"
One other interesting fact, why many on this board what wants to support the farmer, because they almost always vote Republican. "rain or shine"
I grew up in a rural, farming area, and was recently shocked to see how much of industrialized farming in now part of the family farm. They are doing everything they can to stay solvent, but it's not just tariffs that's a drag on their profit margin. This trend has been going on for decades, long before Trump got out of the casino business. One right now -- customers are very concerned about the quality and sourcing of the food they buy. GMOs, insecticides, and herbicides are big deals right now. Everyone is talking about it, So the industrial style farmer, family or not, has been pushed into a corner -- industrialized to try to stay solvent and then punished for the GMOs, chemicals, and processing.
Jim Lincoln wrote: Opinion of one farmer on tariffs anyway.
There are other folks who may profit from said tariffs, so why should I listen to some farmer? And for all we know, he could be some stooge for agribiz, who have every incentive to romanticize the obsolete Jeffersonian illusion of the "noble family farmer."
Good points, Doug. The government makes a mess of everything it tries to manage. And oh by the way, why are we still funding a National Endowment for the Arts? Why not a National Endowment for Ditch Diggers? If an artist is so lousy he or she canâ€™t make a living, there are plenty of jobs available.
If the US govt were as involved in car manufacturing as they are in farms, we would still have Studebakers, DeSotos, Packards, Plymouths, and American Ramblers on the road today. Why is farming considered some sort of 'sacred cow' that cannot face the ups and downs that all businesses have to deal with? If you say, "Oh, but we must protect our Strategic Resources" then ask about rare earth minerals used in smartphones, computers, etc. They come from China.
Coffee? What if tomorrow, all the coffee in the US were limited to the production from Hawaii? It would be priced like fine wine, and our entire economy might lose ten percent of productivity.
A friend told me that he once worked in an office where the new boss had read some health articles about how bad caffeine was for you, so he decided to only order 'Brim" the decaf coffee. Work really slowed down, and he had to change his position.
Sugar? If the US got rid of its sugar farmers, protected by tarriffs, then it could go on the world market and pay much less. Other countries do a better job growing and producing sugar.
I notice on recent news items that farmers mental health is at an all time low with the strain of farming.
It is the same over here in the UK.
All aspects of mans industry and enterprise are suffering in many ways in these modern times.
God's punishment or mans weakness??
Genesis 3:17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."
Rick Telesz wrote: .... I am among those Americans who twice cast my vote for President Barack Obama and then supported President Trump in 2016. But my breaking point with the current president came when I realized his trade war had caused 20% losses for the 750-acre family farm I help run in western Pennsylvania. We produce soybeans, corn and dairy products, all of which have been targeted by tariffs. We operate on margins of 1-2%, which made the losses severe....
excerpt from, "Farmer: I won't vote for Trump again without an end to high tariffs, trade war with China "