I envision a future where farmers and ranchers remain independent and corporate agriculture compliments rather than dominates our existence. I look forward to a day when a cattle producer can realize a truly fair price at market because we as a society demanded that corruption and manipulation are not allowed in a free and open market.
I hope that our nation re-learns the truths made self-evident throughout our history, that the establishment of justice relies upon individuals taking a stand for what is right — and decent — and just.
How do we “grow” the future that we all want to see? We have to plant seeds of leadership in our young people, and cultivate their development through teaching our own hard earned truths. Our students and young agricultural producers have to struggle to survive in an unfair agricultural system that WE allowed to grow and develop into a perversion of a free market system.
Many have realized, somewhat late in the game, that not protecting our institutions such as our agricultural markets has resulted in farmers no longer being able to remain independent as our fore-fathers once were. Market manipulation techniques pushed by “Big-Ag” such as captive supply, futures trading, and lack of oversight and enforcement have created a present reality that independent farmers are drowning in financial distress because the price they receive is inconsistent with the price they SHOULD earn for their labors. This reality pushes many producers into doing business directly with the same organizations that have subverted what should be a free market system. In essence, to stay in the farming “business,” many choose to enter into growing arrangements that are at best lop-sided with a greater advantage to the company than the farmer receives.
The same principals apply throughout agriculture and across row crops and livestock alike. Independence is becoming a rarity. Our nation was developed as a result of a strong desire and will of the people that came here to live their lives free of the injustices rained upon them by other governments and ruling classes. How do we regain our independence? That is a question that we all must address together.
All across the world, a new generation of individuals are questioning the future that has been designed for them. Our children, our student, and our heirs are trying to determine how they will improve their lot in life faced with the failing institutions that we have allowed to develop. We can help them shape a more positive future through mentoring, education, and involvement.
We can teach our next generation about how a market should work. We can provide them with hard earned insight as to why the market is no longer transparent and competitive. We can teach them how to carry on the fight with us and after we are gone to change how things are done, and to create their own vision of a fair future. And, we can learn from them. College students today are much better versed than prior generations on technological advancements in communications, marketing and other areas.
The Beatles once sang “You say you want a revolution, well you know, we all want to change the world…”. OCM has a plan to change our world for the better. OCM would like to mentor a network of students across the nation who are interested in making our agricultural markets more competitive. Our colleges are great breeding grounds for ideas. Our organization will be stronger, our voices louder and our future leadership more secure with a steady infusion of new blood. We envision forming Collegiate Chapters at several universities that would give OCM an opportunity to educate the students about the need for market reform and productive ways to promote positive change—information they often are denied in traditional college courses underwritten by “Big-Ag”. We look forward to infusing the organization with a new energy and revitalizing our advocacy efforts.
If you are interested in helping make connections with your local university to form OCM Collegiate Chapters, please contact me at [email protected] or 405-306-3612.AE