Monday, October 1, 2018


There have always been voices, many of them strong voices, speaking up for farming and the people of farm country.  Never have they been taken very seriously.  But now there is great trouble in the country and  more than a few citizens are thinking that we have about reached the end of some things about how we live and govern ourselves.  In the hope that the mood to hear may now be there that wasn't before, I lift up three strong thoughtful recent voices.  All of these people have thought long and hard about the problem and have dedicated their lives to seeking solutions.

From Wendell Berry, “Leaving the Future Behind. . .”: “If a place-a family farm, a country town and its neighboring countryside, a city and its tributary region-does not keep and care for and use enough of its natural and human goods for its own maintenance and its people’s thriving, the result is destruction, permanent damage-even, as I will dare to say it-climate change.”

From Paul and Phyllis Van Amburgh in the March 2018 issue of Graze: “The time has come for us to bring consumer dollars through to our stewardship. The transfer of wealth has gone on too long. Producers have been harvesting the health of their cattle, mining soil organic matter from the ground and working themselves too hard.”

And from Quebec dairy farmer Gerard Vermeulen in support of Canada's dairy program:
"This is not nice what I'm going to say, but I think you people need to hear it," he says. "Go in Quebec, drive around the countryside, look at the farms. The tin is painted; the tractors are put away. There are a lot of nice farms in the States, I'm not saying they are all run down, but there's a lot more farms that are run down in the States than Canada."