Letter from Langdon: Dear Diary
[imgbelt img=hi03001.jpg]Farm programs and markets (or the lack of them) are reducing the number of farms year by year. Eventually, there will only be one, The Farm Inc.
May 1, 2040
Today there is only one farm left in America.
An old farmer once said: “This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come”
Thanks in part to unlimited government support for any farm, no matter how large, we have reached this ultimate pinnacle of success. If critics of small farm agriculture are correct in saying that large farms are more efficient, it can’t get any better than this.
That doesn’t leave us much to look forward to, does it?
Diary, many may have forgotten how The Farm, Inc. came to pass. I remember that it was planted in our farm and food policies eons ago.
Back in 2010, a different old farmer told me, “What we need isn’t more cows, we need more cowboys. And we don’t need ten 10,000-acre farmers as much as we need one hundred 1,000-acre farmers.”
In those days everyone was free to soak up as much Federal money as they could. The only chance little guys had was by getting bigger. And when farmers got bigger, rural towns just got smaller and smaller as 1,000 farmers became 100, then 10, and now only one.
It was all done in the name of efficiency and profit.
Eventually we turned livestock operations over to the The Packer, Inc., who worked with The Retailer, Inc. so that today, only the biggest can pay to play the game.
Efficiency and profit have nothing to do with feeding the underprivileged.
It’s like those games of keep-away we used to play in grade school. The little kids never had a chance against the big kids unless somebody dropped the ball. That didn’t happen much on school playgrounds, or on the farm either. First I’m it. Now I’m out.
My farmer neighbors have all moved away here in 2040. There’s no reason to stay. “Rural” is just another name for “ghost” when it comes to our towns.
Whatever farm labor isn’t done with robots is accomplished by nomad immigrants who come and go with the seasons from China or Korea. Next year they may come from India or South America. It all depends on where labor is the cheapest for The Farm, Inc.
Of course without cheap labor, corporations can’t make the dough they want, and so we have to buy our bread from countries where work pays less. No matter where the food comes from, however, the same corporations control it. Back when we had family farms, income may have left something to be desired, but the people who did the work took pride in what they did. We didn’t have to go far to buy their products, either.
We’ve gone from having the brotherhood of man to the smaller brotherhood of global businessmen.
This is what I call progress.
Stalin used his political power to do the same thing that focused government subsidies did for large farms. They both deprived farmers of the opportunity to farm by limiting the availability of both land and income.
Nothing remains the same, of course. The latest news out of Washington is that America’s one big farm isn’t efficient enough to compete with the one farm in Asia, where labor is dirt cheap. Too much competition limits profit and threatens production which in turn, they say, means more of the world’s people will go hungry. There’s talk of a merger.
Combined, Farm, Inc./USA and Farm, Inc./Asia should be very efficient.