True Words

What Libby Spencer says.

Update: In case you missed it (thanks, moonbat!), here is the speech by farmer Tony Schulz at Madison’s rally. Warning: Turn your volume down first.

Update: Some nice coverage of Saturday’s rally at Britain’s Guardian, anyway. Check out the photograph! See also Time.

And here’s some consolation for the perpetually whiny William Jacobsen — I’m sure the teabaggers can organize an impressive motorized scooter-chair (courtesy of Medicare) parade, and you can count on Fox News giving it great coverage! I bet your people can score large numbers of golf carts, too!

12 thoughts on “True Words

  1. Yup, when someone like Rupert Merde-och can own the NY Post, the WSJ, FOX News, FOX Entertainment, and FOX radio, along with this foreign information holdings, broadband access, terrestrial AND satellite, you get the news HE wants you to see, not the news YOU need.
    Now, how do we break up these media empires?
    Besides a sledgehammer, I mean.

  2. The myth of the “family farm.” The large agri-business giants have successful portrayed the “family farm as a 30-something mom and dad with two pre-pubescent children. I cannot conjure up an example that is farther from the truth.

    Even a “small” family farm is much different than that. Small family farms farm at least 3,000 acres. One member, usually the wife, works in town at a good paying job. She has benefits, such as health care which means that the crops from the 3,000 acres does not have to support health care.

    The family farm will have in excess of $1,000,000 in farm equipment such as tractors, planters and combines. A 24 row planter is not uncommon. The family farm has paid employees. Why? Because the farmer/owner cannot possibly cover all that land each year.

    Every acre of land must be gone over at least four times each year. First to prepare the ground for planting. Second to do the actual planting. Third to apply pesticide/herbicide. And fourth to harvest the crop. That is a minimum for the mid-wast part of the US in growing corn, wheat or soybeans. Many other crops are much more intensive, unfortunatly, I am not familiar with those types of farming.

  3. I am sending this to my friends. This needs to go viral!

    As a sentimental old codger, I could hardly see through the tears.

  4. One member, usually the wife, works in town at a good paying job. She has benefits, such as health care which means that the crops from the 3,000 acres does not have to support health care.

    Not necessarily. The wife may have a job, but it is not necessarily “good paying,” and it may not come with benefits. I’ve read in several news articles that a large portion of Wisconsin farmers depend on a state Medicaid-funded program for health care. And that’s a program that Scott Walker wants to cut, which is a major reason the farmers are concerned.

  5. I remember hearing on NPR that a lot of coal miners, essentially work in the mines in order to preserve their family farms. Making money on a small farm is next to immpossible.

    I have a few friends with working farms under 500 acres. One is in his mid sixties, works every day of the year and considers himself retired because he sold his dairy cows a few years back and grows soybeans and hay. He is expert at breeding excellent Black Angus. His family came here in the 1840’s. He said that about twenty five years ago, there were over 200 dairy farms in our county, now there are 2. Chief is right, but not so many years ago, there were a lot of small family farms. My parents farmed chickens and dairy and most of my friends in grade school were dairy farm kids, all from small farms. I think our dairy farm was just around 100 acres, but I was very young so I can’t swear to it.

    For a while, it seemed the future of farming was micro farming or niche farming. It’s fairly popular here. On our little farm we had 45 dairy goats at the peak, now we have 22 and we’re letting the herd shrink by attrition and trading out some does to other micro farmers. We never intended to make any serious money, just break even, have tons of milk, cheese and eggs to trade. A very good friend’s daughter and her husband are successfully raising “organic” meat and farm products in Arkansas. —(I tried to provide a link to her farm, I must have remembered her website URL wrong, and let’s just say it turnd up a very “different” type of site which did feature some farm animals. I guess that’s just modern life.) They started a few years ago and had little money to invest. She works with Heifer Project also, but at last contact they were still tenant farming.

    The farmers I know tend to be pragmatic politically (although, just about everyone is fundamentalist) I guess this stems from farmers being working class but not proletariat because they own the means of production. Anyway, it can’t to have these guys in on the fight and on our side. I posted the video on my facebook page and some friends have already posted it on theirs. I am not much of a facebook person, but in this case it seems, more promising than depending on the news media.

    I freely admit this has been anecdotal, rambling and tangential. So what else is new?

  6. Maha,

    What you say is true. But please, do not pick nits.

    Not all ‘family farms’ are 3,00 acres. Some are only a thousand. My father-in-law owned less than 200 acres and rented another 340 or so acres and Mrs. Chief’s mom did not work in town.

    But a good number have more than 3,000 acres and have a degree or two in agronomy w/ a wife that is a school teacher or professor.

    • But please, do not pick nits.

      I’m not picking nits. I’m sure that what you say is true of a lot of farms, but by all accounts a large portion of Wisconsin’s dairy farmers need the Medicaid-funded program for health care. So, it is apparently not true that all farm families have health insurance from someone’s job.

  7. Thanks for posting that video, and double thanks for the volume warning.
    I really enjoy your posts Maha, and really enjoy your reader’s comments.

  8. Americans invented ‘Social Networking’ – Facebook & Twittering. These have been essential tools in revolutions in Iran, Egypt & Lybia. i work with an Iranian who told me how absolute censorship can erode in the face of a smart phone. We are dealing in America with censorship of a new kind, selective coverage. Madison dropped off the media map, as will other stories that bedevil the corporate giants – the ones who buy ad time on CNN, NBC, & CBS.

    Here’s my question. How can liberals use social media to educate and motivate nationally? There’s a way around the media that’s foiled dictatorships. We invented it. Why aren’t we using it?

  9. Doug, as Madge the Palmolive pitch lady would say, “You’re soaking in it now!”
    Just the thought of the regular commentors on this blog linking up almost daily is a phenom in its self.
    We tend to take air for granted until it’s fouled.

  10. I don’t want to pick nits either, but I guess there is some obvious economic incentive for conseratives and “real” American commentators to badmouth “locavores” and to portray anyone who thinks a tomato should taste like a tomato as an “elitist food snob”. “Slow Food”, eating local and sustainable agriculture are all important ideas. I know many people who are very different from me in terms of their political thought. They usually are at least two bumpersticker people with a Biblical verse on one side of the bumper and a Confederate battle flag on the other. But, as long as the “buzz words” aren’t involved they are right there with us DFH’s. (Hell, a lot of them still have long hair, usually for Civil War reenactment purposes. One of my friends looks like John Bell Hood, but that’s another story..) They do often have second jobs, but they can also be related to farming. A friend of mine is a farrier, blacksmith and wheelwright with a forge and equipment on his farm. He gets by with an old 600 series Ford tractor that he got for $1500 and he has been doing it all his adult life. — If we talk religion or politics we wouldn’t agree, and getting in a fight with a blacksmith is a VERY bad idea. But, if local foods, grass fed beef (his specialty), fresh raw milk, etc. he’s right there with me.

    Go to any farmers’ market and talk to the people. A lot of them do have very small farms that cater to niche markets. I know another goat dairy that sells to dozens of regular customers and supplies a slew of restaurants in a nearby city and has fewer goats than I do. The key is not bigger but “right size”. There is a point when your production capacity matches your market and the amount of labor you can provide. You just need to stop there. You are NOT going to get rich.

    The problem with micro farms is that sooner or later they cut in on the market and show the weakness of the corporate model. They also allow working people to appreciate, afford and sometimes produce food of a quality that is normally reserved for, and considered a hallmark of the well to do.

    For example, a certain well mannered, Libertarian columnist with whom I seldom agree, wrote about the virtues of Himalayan pink salt. I was skeptical about the whole salt thing until I discovered Camargue salt. But, exotic salt has seldom come up in a conversation with any of my working class friends, they would probably look at me like I had two heads if I brought it up. If I were to talk to someone of a hgher social station, of which there are many, they would consider me an elitist. A friend of mine used to say “Eating well is a good way to piss off a conservative.”

    Now I have a dilemma, our feedstore has begun carrying Pink Himalayan saltblocks for horses! I am thinking of giving it a shot, as in using it myself. It’s pretty cheap as gourmet salt goes. I know of people who make oatmeal from the same rolled oats they feed their horses. They all seem pretty healthy, so far. Do any of you know? Sorry to digress, must be the ADD again.

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