by Mike Weaver
For too many years, or should I say decades, small family farmers have been battling the mega corporations that have taken over agriculture in this country and, indeed, throughout the world. Yes, we have won a battle here and there, but many times the companies have gone to Congress and paid for a change in a law or regulation to get their way, again leaving farm families standing out in the cold. While we may have stemmed the tide of corporate takeover, we haven’t stopped it. And we can never out-spend Big Ag. Our only plausible alternative is to unite all sectors of agriculture and convince Congress we intend to change things using our votes.
One of the most satisfying trips I made to Washington, D.C., was several years ago, and what made it great was bringing to light a reality for a U.S. Senator. During a “face to face” (an actual meeting with the Senator himself, not an aide), we were trying to relate the dire straits most small farmers are in. The Senator kept saying something to the effect “…now we have to take the company issues into consideration…,” essentially implying that their wellbeing was his main concern. I had heard more of “the companies” than I cared to, and upon leaving I looked him straight in the eye and said: “Senator, those companies may be paying your bills but they can’t vote for you.” That was the only thing I remember during the meeting that made him think. And I hope it makes you think too about the power of your vote.
I don’t foresee in my lifetime enough things changing in the marketplace and economically for small family farmers unless we do come together– every ag sector, including beef, dairy, poultry, grain, cotton, pork, and anyone else we can get to join us. We must demand the changes that will make our operations profitable again and help us keep our kids on the farm.
OCM has been working on most of the major issues and attempting to bring about the changes we need. But we need your help. We’re not asking you to give up your current association activities or to stop any initiatives that are effective. We are asking that, in addition to your current activities, you join us and help form a force that is big enough, and, therefore, effective enough, to bring about change for the better.
Please take the time to go to our website and take a look at the areas we are working on. We don’t expect everyone to jump in and help on all the fronts we are involved in but you can pick out one or two and assist. Be it with a membership or contribution, help with a mailing, organizing your friends and neighbors to hold a local rally or a call in to Congress.
There are many things you can and must do if, like us, you don’t wish to see the extinction of the small American family farm in our lifetime.