From the June 2007 Idaho Observer:
The State of the Farm
The State of the Farm
By Hari Heath
Ten score and a few odd years ago, most of what is now America was inhabited by various native hunter-gatherer societies. In most of this country, if agriculture existed at all, the primary farm implement was a planting stick. But things would soon change.
The Eastern Seaboard was settled with towns and the majority of the European immigrants living there were either farmers or servants indentured to farmers. Farming was then a common and honored vocation in the newly united colonies turned states.
To give some perspective of where our nation was then, the now eastern state of Ohio was part of the "Northwest" Territory. But things would soon change.
The westward migration of "American" settlement brought with it farming. The land of the buffalo hunters became the land of the plow, the ranch and the railroad. The "westward ho" push sent many seeking the rich soils of the Willamette Valley in the Oregon Territory—almost as valuable as gold. Farming was the lifeblood of the new America—but things would soon change.
The great contest
The so-called "Civil War" could be called a contest between agriculture and industry. Taxation and federal dominance of the states, as the industrial federalist "Union" states were urging, was more at the forefront of the conflict than the ostensive ruse of slavery. Slavery would soon abolish itself because the industrial revolution began to provide innovative farm implements that would replace the labor-intensive agriculture and high costs of the slave era. The real contest was whether the industrial northern states could impose a federal dominance and taxation scheme to compel the southern agricultural states to purchase northern built agricultural implements rather than European imports. Agriculture lost the contest. Industry and the federalists are now the dominators.
Just after air and water, food is life. Agriculture was the basis of America, but where are we today? In a recent Power Hour radio interview Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm stated a sobering statistic: We now have twice as many people in prison as we do farmers.
What does this say about the state of our nation? How did we get to the point where the incarceration industry overshadows the cultivation of crops?
Food is power and the powers that be are ever mindful that the control of food is important to their scheme. Who was among the hardest hit during the bankster engineered depression of the 1930s? Farmers. How many lost "the family farm" then? Add 50 years and we were again losing farms to bank foreclosures and an economic structure designed to destroy the small operator, repossess the asset of the land and give birth to industrial corporate agriculture.
The fascistic components act in unison: The iron fist of commerce and government’s velvet lined glove; the iron fist of government and commerce’s velvet lined glove.
The fist hammers control by lending policies and practices designed to manage compliant farmers and crush the independent operator. A myriad of regulatory schemes hammer market access, farming methods, land use, harvest and processing techniques to forge the industrial agriculture paradigm. The direct farm-to-market concept is made well nigh impossible outside of the occasional local farmer’s market.
Government subsidies for farmers have created a new welfare class ostensively to protect the farm from the perilous market forces of the industrial-agriculture-complex. The industrial-agriculture-complex funds and directs the new Ag-science, with government help, to create the industrial paradigm of the new agriculture. Agency experts are sent into the field to help farmers make the transition—with a smooth and seamless velvet lined glove.
Tractors got bigger. Farms went corporate. Markets are institutionalized. Education and research is directed and controlled. Farm policy is federalized. Seed and chemicals come from dominant corporations. Banksters control who gets what.
Fascistic? Yes. But let’s not forget the communist’s plan. Most of the Ten Planks of the Communist Manifesto have some effect on farming, but a few of them directly target agriculture:
Seventh Plank: "Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State, the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan."
Eighth Plank: "…Establishment of industrial armies especially for agriculture."
Ninth Plank: "Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries…"
Tenth Plank: "…Combination of education with industrial production."
How many federally-subsidized red, white and blue flag-waving farmers understand the communistic roots of their enterprise?
flora and fauna balance
We have entered the N-P-K diesel mega-tractor age. Add three "nutrients," plow, seed, spray and harvest. Gone is the balance between plants and animals on the farm. Fertilizer is an industrial product. Bug and weed problems are solved with petroleum- based chemistry and genetic alteration of seed. The majority of soil preparation and harvesting is a mechanical operation. Animals, if there are any, are warehoused in concentration camp conditions until they are processed into the packaged product we have all become accustomed to eating as if it were food.
Salatin explains: "Pasture-based livestock and poultry-production systems, including symbiotic plant-animal relationships, were once part and parcel of the American farm and food system. Any pre-1950 book about livestock farming assumes a grass-based template. But that was before Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) became normative. In the industrial template, pasture threw too many variables into the production system. Confining the animals in factory concentration camps offered ration specialists the opportunity to concoct Total Mixed Rations (TMRs).
"In the pasture-based system, the hedges offered medicinals and seasonal variation, including wild garlic and plantain’s cleansing properties. Animals could intuitively choose certain plants at certain times of the year for pharmacological reasons. The antibiotics contained in unwilted forages maintained vibrant health. But all these variables drive the industrialist crazy because they are too dynamic to control. Concentrating the animals on concrete and formulating the ration offers ultimate control. Pasture is out; CAFOs are in.
"Before the dominance of industrial agriculture, compost and farm manures generally were considered a valuable resource. In the industrial production system, chemical fertilizer is the real asset. In a world that needs to be sterilized, manures are a liability we dare not use. But beyond that, CAFOs create such mountains of these materials that they can’t be ecologically carted off to build soil.
"The industrial-generated manure from CAFOs is a completely different blend than excretions from pasture-based livestock. In fact, many of these nutrient-rich manures are now so laden with parasiticides, hormones, pharmaceuticals, heavy metals and poisonous appetite stimulants that their use is questioned by the organic community. New dangers lurk from this industrial manure that did not exist when farms were more appropriately sized and farmers really wanted their children to inherit good soil.
"Throw out the manure, says the industrial model. Bring in the chemicals via global positioning satellite technology and truly scientific farming. Chemicals and science. After all, they go hand in hand. A true asset."
Science has brought us genetic engineering, Bovine Growth Hormone, irradiation, pasteurization, fluoride sprayed vegetable displays at the supermarket, nitrates and nitrites, super-soldier virus treatments for viral war zone dominance on our lunch meats and enough petro-chemistry to make us all die before our time.
Eggs, poultry, pork, and dairy and beef products, now primarily come to your table from "factory farms." Big-Ag’s incarceration-production facilities make Nazi concentration camps look like resorts. These multigenerational, monoculture, football-field-sized internment camps are host to pathogens that breed resistance to all the pharmacology and chemistry applied by industrial agriculturists.
Salatin explains the result: "This year  we have seen the largest tonnage of food recalled in any year of our nation’s history. That is how efficient this industrial paradigm is. The spin says we need this industrial paradigm to feed the world — that’s why we had to landfill 1,000 tractor-trailer loads of turkeys and 2 million pounds of ground beef from ConAgra."
The final (until the next level of atrocity is invented) attack on sane food production is the genetically modified organism (GMO). Literally cracking the code of life, gene splicing has created Frankenstein foods for various corporate agricultural purposes. Aside from the threat to the genetic code of life itself by moving such creations from the laboratory to the field, real science documents the dangers of feeding GMO food to animals and humans. This subject deserves an article unto itself, which many researchers and authors already provide in abundance. Search it out for yourself.
The ultimate in corporate agriculture’s greed comes in two forms. Patenting plants so that corporations can "own" life and prevent farmers from growing patented plants and "Terminator" seeds, designed to make farmers dependent on corporate seed sources. Terminator seeds, like hybrids, don’t produce viable seed for next year’s planting, creating dependency on the corporate seed source.
The proposed National Animal Identification System (NAIS) is ostensively to be used to identify farm animals and track down the source of disease outbreaks to minimize their epidemiological potential. NAIS proponents plan to identify every farm animal with a chip or other identifier, give every farmer a premise ID number and maintain a database to track it all. The regulatory mandates will be intrusive, even absurd. If you take a horse ride "off premises" it will have to be reported. Even 4-H children will have to register their premises.
The Big Brother control grid aside, the hidden function is a continuation of the long term national (commie/fascist) agricultural policy: Remove the free and independent farmers from the land and turn their assets over to industrial agriculture.
Estimated cost to the independent farmer to comply with NAIS is $5 to over $30 per animal. Factory farms will have premise exemptions, which eliminate the costs of chipping and record keeping for each animal. Two types of farms. One market price. Two cost- of-operation structures. Who will still be in business after NAIS?
Appearance vs. substance
Are you old enough to remember when food tasted like something without the need for additional "natural flavors?" Did we need a supplement industry when family farmers took care of their soil with a symbiosis of animal husbandry and crop management? Are you hungry again, two hours after a big meal?
Nutrient depletion in the soil, chemical farming, toxic waste "converted" to fertilizer, long term storage facilities for all year market delivery of "fresh" produce and untold processing, irradiation, stabilizing and enhancement of foodstuffs creates the appearance of food without the substance our bodies deserve.
Salatin explains: "Fresh foods deteriorate and eventually decompose, regardless of human manipulation. To create nonperishable qualities in food is to eliminate its nutritive capacity. Living food decays."
Test your food by leaving some out on the counter. Will it decay? Buy more of what goes bad first. Avoid foods that "live" forever.
Our food supply has essentially been embalmed. If you shop in the center of the supermarket for the processed, packaged foods, it’s more a case of being cremated or mummified. Packaging and labeling—the marketing process to get the mind to choose appearance over substance—is how we have gradually adapted to the industrial food supply. Real food has become an unknown, foreign object to most consumers.
Remember, the governmental authority that approved the feeding of brains, spinal cords and chicken manure to herbivores in our food supply is the same authority that authorizes the USDA Organic label to be applied to the higher priced foodstuffs on the pretence that a higher standard of production was used. USDA Organic really stands for yo(U) (S)tupid (D)umb (A)ss "organic." It’s only as "organic" as government is honest. Will you pay more to be fooled again?
If you really want ecologically grown whole foods, seek out food with a private certification label such as CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers www.ccof.org), QAI (Quality Assurance International www.qai-inc.com) or OTCO (Oregon Tilth www.tilth.org). Better yet, find local holistic food farmers and buy directly from them. Know your food by knowing where it comes from.
I’ll conclude with a composite quote from Salatin: "We do not need more laws, we need more liberty. We need to protect freedom of choice. We need to protect the freedom of the farmer to sell and the freedom of the consumer to purchase anything they jolly well want without the encroachment of harassing, capricious, asinine government regulations. If we don’t preserve that liberty today, the only thing our children and our children’s children will be able to have and eat is irradiated, amalgamated, extruded, reconstituted, chlorinated, genetically prostituted, ADM fecal soup. I am convinced that the freedom to eat our choice of foods will be one of the showdowns of tomorrow.
"We need more faith in the way the Creator designed nature and set the principles in motion. Nature is still the most beautiful, fearfully and wonderfully made design ever invented, and it cannot be abridged, adulterated, compromised or improved upon by human arrogance or cleverness.
"We do not need more research that figures out how to irradiate chickens or genesplice a corn plant. We need thinking and reason to figure out what we already have, because our problem is that the human mind is clever enough to outrun our own headlights."
Joel Salatin raises grass-fed beef, pastured poultry, rabbits and more on a model diversified farmstead, Polyface Farm, in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. www.polyfacefarms.com
He is the author of Salad Bar Beef, Pastured Poultry Profits, You Can Farm, and Family Friendly Farming, each available from Acres U.S.A. for $30, plus shipping and handling. To order, call 1- 800-355-5313 or visit the website at
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