Posts Tagged ‘Farmers’

Farmers Seek Defenses Against the Giants of Agribusiness

April 3, 2008

Editor
This a very good article and damn disturbing.

Our farmers are being run off their farms, health care is quickly becoming a disaster and our education system sucks.

This country belongs to us – not a bunch of two bit, lying, corporate ass kissing politicians.
Either we wake up and stand up or we will all choke on our apathy.


Farmers Seek Defenses Against the Giants of Agribusiness

Dandelion Salad

by John Riddell
Global Research, April 3, 2008
Socialist Voice

Around the world, farm income is plummeting, pushing farmers off the land and into destitution. At the very same time, soaring food prices are putting tens of millions onto starvation diets.

Welcome to the bizarre world of capitalist agriculture, where the drive to boost profits of giant transnational corporations is imperiling the production of our means of survival.

Suzanne Weiss and I sought insight into this crisis by talking to farmers who live close to us — in Grey County, 200 kilometers north-west of Toronto. We had been invited there to report on farming in Venezuela to the local unit of the National Farmers Union. Our hosts took time to give us an education in Grey County agricultural economics.

“What is the one single measure that would do the most to help farmers in Ontario?” I asked Rae MacIntyre, president of the Grey County local of the National Farmers Union (NFU).

“Open up food markets to local producers,” he replied. “That would transform the situation.”

MacIntyre’s stress on “local food” reveals how much ground has been lost by Grey County’s 160 NFU members — and their 50,000 farmer colleagues across Ontario — during recent decades of big-business attacks on farmers and degradation of the food system. The challenge before farmers is no longer merely low prices for farm products. They are now almost entirely excluded from grocery-store shelves.

Check out your local supermarket: almost every food product has traveled 3,000 kilometers or more to reach the store.

Exploited producers

But more is at stake. Farmers are working people, exploited by big-business profiteering. Despite the supposed advantages of large-scale farming, Canada has very few capitalist factory-farms worked by hired labour. The great majority of operations are “family farms,” where family members do most or all of the work.

Some working farmers employ seasonal labourers under the government’s oppressive migrant-labour programs. Defense of these workers must be a top priority of the labour movement as a whole. But the primary blame for this shameful system falls on the government that designed it, and the capitalist market that requires it.

Farmers are self-employed and must get by on what their products fetch on a hostile market. Many farmers have been subjugated by onerous contracts with giant corporate customers. They are exploited by big-business suppliers, buyers, and banks just as workers at General Motors or Wal-Mart are.

The last two decades of cutbacks, layoffs, and concession contracts, which wage workers know as “neo-liberalism,” hit farmers with extra severity. In that time, 25% of Canada’s farms disappeared.

‘No more buying local’

Our Grey County hosts, mostly beef and lamb producers, told us that most of their potential corporate customers had stopped buying from local producers, seeking to cut costs through giant contracts with foreign suppliers. Shawn, who runs a sheep farm, had just lost his marketing contract with a grocery chain that was cutting out local producers. Another NFU member had lost his contract for pumpkins. The buyer told him frankly: “No more buying local.”

Jon Radojkovic, a Grey County grower of shiitake mushrooms told us he has given up trying to sell them to Toronto distributors. Instead, he finds his customers through a local bartering network.

Like most Grey County farmers, Rae MacIntyre raises beef. Not long ago, “there was a slaughterhouse in every county,” he says. That’s all gone now; the only significant purchaser is the corporate goliath, Cargill, which has an abattoir in Guelph, MacIntyre says. Most Ontario beef is sold into the U.S. for whatever it will bring, and these days that’s next to nothing.

Grey County used to be a major supplier of apples. Now few apples are sold, MacIntyre says. “Juice apples … are often composted or used for animal feed.” Many of the apples we see in stores are flown in from China. The same applies to apple juice and apple sauce, despite the misleading “made in Canada” labels on the packaging.

“Many good farmers have given up,” says Radojkovic. “They were proud and happy; now they have lost hope — killed by low prices.”

Read the full article at Dandelion Salad

Farmers protest 'flatulence' tax

March 28, 2008

 Editor
Just when I thought the ECO – FREAKS couldn’t get any stranger.

One more reason I’ll be turning my lights on to celebrate earth hour.

Farmers protest ‘flatulence’ tax
AP
WELLINGTON, New Zealand – Farmers are mailing parcels of sheep and cow manure to lawmakers to protest a so-called “flatulence” tax on greenhouse gas emissions from their flocks and herds, the New Zealand’s postal service complained Tuesday.
The service said about 20 reeking packages and envelopes had been sent to the nation’s Parliament and that the protest – dubbed the “Raise a Stink” campaign – was endangering the health of postal workers.

Farmers are angry that the government has levied the tax to raise 8 million New Zealand dollars (US$4.7 million) a year – about 300 New Zealand dollars (US$177) for average farms and ranches – for research into methane gas emissions from agricultural animals.
Millions of sheep, cattle and other animals that graze on New Zealand’s lush farmlands are thought to produce 55 percent of the country’s greenhouse gases.

New Zealand Post spokesman Ian Long said sending manure by the mail was a crime.
“Our main concern is for the health and safety of our people,” said Long. “The police have told us that they will prosecute if they can prove wrongdoing.”
Mail sorting workers were wearing protective gloves and placing suspect parcels into bags, he said.
Parliamentary security officials said some stained and damp mail items had been intercepted before they made it to government ministers.

Adam Fricker, editor of the Rural News newspaper which encouraged the protest, said farmers had taken “radical” action to get the ear of the government.
“Farmers feel marginalized. They don’t have the voice in Parliament they once had … to really get traction on an issue when a ridiculous tax like this is being foisted on them,” he said.
Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton said climate change from greenhouse gases “is the world’s biggest environmental problem. We have to do something about it.”
He said farmers could be “responsible guardians” of the environment and help generate new technology to deal with animal methane.
Dismissing the manure protest as “nonsense,” Sutton said an alternative to the tax was for farmers pay emission levies like other industrial sectors. That would cost them tens of millions of dollars more a year.

Greenhouse gases, such as methane and carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels like coal and oil, are being blamed for a feared warming of the atmosphere.
Environmentalists fear it will cause havoc with global weather patterns and trigger sea level rises.




I could make a comment…but I have way too much class. :-)Algore would be very proud of the NZ government.
1 posted on 07/16/2003 7:02:58 AM PDT by Valin

To: Valin
I could give a fart.
2 posted on 07/16/2003 7:03:57 AM PDT by Semper Paratus

To: Valin
“Algore would be very proud of the NZ government. “Exactly. Add the opresive fanaticism of the eco-wackos to the scary willingness of Clintoon to use disproportianate force against ordinary Americans and we see how lucky we were to keep wierd Al out of the Oval Office.
3 posted on 07/16/2003 7:07:33 AM PDT by BenLurkin (Socialism is slavery.)

To: Valin
Let me tell you how it will be There’s one for you, nineteen for me Cos I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman Should five per cent appear too small Be thankful I don’t take it all Cos I’m the taxman, yeah I’m the taxman If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street
If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat
If you get too cold I’ll tax the heat
If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet

Taxman!
Cos I’m the taxman, yeah I’m the taxman
Don’t ask me what I want it for (Aahh Mr. Wilson)
If you don’t want to pay some more (Aahh Mr. Heath)
Cos I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman

Now my advice for those who die
Declare the pennies on your eyes
Cos I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman
And you’re working for no one but me
Taxman!

The Beatles – Revolver

4 posted on 07/16/2003 7:07:34 AM PDT by bedolido (Ann Coulter… A Conservative Male’s Natural Viagra)

To: Valin

In a saner era, the only people declaring that sheep farts mean doom for the earth would be safely confined to mental institutions. Now they form expensive multi-national committees around them. Welcome to the modern world.

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