... welcome to the cheap seats
The co-operative ghost that haunts Saskatchewan The death of the Wheat Pool The advent of agri-business The death of the Wheat Board
Serious question: What makes you champion the era of grain elevators? Is a romantic notion of what farming used to be like? Is it a distaste for progress or efficiency?
I'll choose the 2nd option...we "socialists" abhor progress and efficiency, its written right into our satanic chants we preform before each meeting..
Actually I would say I have a very refined tasted for progress and efficiency. I am all for technological advancement which benefits everyone (you may have heard of the "working families" agenda of a certain political party - i.e. so blue collar workers and farmers do not get screwed).Is it a romantic notion of what farming used to be? Maybe. I just hate the idea of big business coming to Saskatchewan, buying all the land, owning all the capital and then employing the farms former residence and paying them minimum wage.
"Is it a distaste for progress or efficiency?"Ugh. I don't even want to touch this one with a ten foot pole.Ahem. Agri-business degrades the quality of our food, destroys the environment, puts hard-working people out of business, and commodifies a human necessity to the extreme for the sake of greed. Dope.
"Agri-business degrades the quality of our food, destroys the environment, puts hard-working people out of business, and commodifies a human necessity to the extreme for the sake of greed."No they don't, because of the financing, R&D and knowing their customers "Agri-business" has been directly involved in the following:- Protein levels of grain are at the highest level they've every been.- Zero-till, judicious fertilizing and careful spraying have both reduced the time on the land, the number of passes on the land, the disturbance to the top-soil, and the amount of residual chemicals in the environment.- employ a lot of hard working people- food has never been free, fortunately modified methodologies, techniques and seed have allowed humanity to harvest ever increasing amounts of food, increasing supply and reducing cost."Dope."Cheers,lance
I appreciate Wheatsheaf's comment as it is an attempt to respond in a serious manner. Sean S. - you are normally more reasonable in your posts - don't let the anger get the best of you. As for Ryan - I don't want to ouch his comments with a ten foot pole.I understand the fear that small farmers will lose their livelihoods. I can also see the fear of "big-business coming to saskatchewan" to take the land from the original settlers of the land. However, until very recently, Saskatchewan had rigorous restrictions on foreign (non-saskatchewanian) ownership of land. And, the initial homesteaders are all very recent immigrants to saskatchewan - so i don't feel that they have a right to keep others out.My concern is that if prairie farmers don't adjust to new economic realities then we will be back to subsistence farming. Subsistence farming, in my view, is fine as a concept but the reality is that people want things like big screen tv's and flights to Europe. I am not a big fan of over-consumption but I am also not going to try to impose my views on farmers while I also purchase material goods and fly around the world to experience other cultures.I agree that there is too much reliance on pesticides and herbicides in our culture but think that Ryan confuses agri-business with other issues.
Mmmm perhaps I did let "anger get the best of me," and I apologize for that. But it doesn't mean my points aren't valid.Lance--I get it, you think technology will save us all, technology is the messiah that will forgive all environmentally destructive sins that we've committed against the earth and the human race. I don't. Like Wheatsheaf, I am for any technology that will improve the quality of life for human beings and provide a real benefit to all people (not just business' pocketbooks) if that technology is not destructive to the environment. "- Protein levels of grain are at the highest level they've every been."And grain isn't healthy enough to begin with? I'm under the impression that it takes a balanced diet to be healthy, so why wouldn't you just get protein in meat or other sources, just like nature intended? What effect does GMO food have on the eco-system? What effect does it have on our personal health? These questions have yet to be answered, and many Canadians are against GMO food to begin with. Hell we don't even know when we're eating it, unlike many EU countries because our government fears ticking off big business."- Zero-till, judicious fertilizing and careful spraying have both reduced the time on the land, the number of passes on the land, the disturbance to the top-soil, and the amount of residual chemicals in the environment."Problem is, moth fertilizers and chemicals are bad for the environment, no matter what levels. They are also bad for human consumption. This also speaks nothing to land use and overuse, which is a symptom of industrial farming. Spray erodes the topsoil, industry doesn't rotate fields and crops because they don't have to thanks to spray, and it ruins soil fertility. Then they spray more fertilizer on the ruined land. I don't see how spraying at all could be considered an environmental option to begin with."- employ a lot of hard working people"Yeah, employ. I'm talking about people being independent small business owners, not employees. If one were to really believe in the tenets of capitalism, the "nation of shopkeepers" Adam Smith described, one would want more small businesses than several homogeneous monopolies that dominate the market. The corporations are the real collectivizers. Funny, because everyone was afraid of collectivization of farming when the CCF first came to power."- food has never been free, fortunately modified methodologies, techniques and seed have allowed humanity to harvest ever increasing amounts of food, increasing supply and reducing cost."What a joke. There is more than enough food to feed the world. The problem is not production, it is distribution. Africa was self-sufficient in food over 50 years ago, and now they are starving from producing cash crops for the world market. Technological progress will not solve hunger, social progress will. And you're right, food for us is cheaper. We pay the least in percentage of income than anyone in the world. But that speaks nothing to quality or health concerns. You're right, for us, in cities in north america, food has never been free, but it has in the third world, just takes a little hard work. Food has always been a commodity in the western world, but the problem is when if becomes NOTHING BUT a commodity, produced for nothing but the bottom line. Once again, speaks nothing to food quality, nutritional accessibility or environmental concerns. Perhaps you're familiar with the case of Percy Schmeiser in Saskatchewan, or seed gatherers in Africa and India. Since these companies have patents on seeds, they can prevent people from planting them without paying a fee. How does that democratize food?Response to anonymous #2--"I am not a big fan of over-consumption but I am also not going to try to impose my views on farmers while I also purchase material goods and fly around the world to experience other cultures."But what about the common good? If overconsumption is bad for the common good, as you seem to think it is, why should it be a right? You're buying into hyper-individualism as the presumed truthful ideology. I'm not saying that people shouldn't be allowed to buy things, or fly. I'm saying that the amount we do it at is ridiculous. This isn't about subsistence agriculture, it's about sustainable agriculture. The problem isn't that farmers can't produce food for sale, it's that they can't produce it cheap enough. If we want environmentally sustainable agriculture, we have to pay more for it. Anyway, small, sustainable farms are for the common good, and we should be promoting them, and adjusting our laws in their favour if we want to help the environment and not just produce cheap food.
"Zero till" is a concept that's as old as human agriculture. The winter tilling was a product of agri-business... Also, (I worked for the ministry of agriculture) agri-business backtracks more than I can even start to comprehend. There are more screw-ups for which they aren't held accountable and more wrong doings and misuse of land resources and material than what is sustainable... The same company that made Agent Orange is also bringing to you the terminator seed, a great way to destroy variety, increase homogeny, and dependence on a single company - making just a few guys in the cadillacs a lot richer and the rest of us ail more and more. I think the rest of Lance's comments were well answered to. Seriously, don't believe everything that read when 60% of news articles are PR reports by the big companies well disguised as actual news.
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