Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Last of Joel Salatin for now...

Okay, I know that I've hit Joel Salatin a lot here lately (to be fair, I did have a lot of Allan Nation posts lately!), but this will be my last ... for a little while. If you click on this LINK you will download or be taken to a PDF of an article from the November 2002 issue of Acres USA. The article by Mr. Salatin is titled, "Balance Sheet Switcheroo :: Assests Become Liabilities in Industrial Ag." This is another, "shape my viewpoint," article that I found interesting to read. He talks about the culture shift in agriculture that has turned the historical assets of agriculture into liabilities.

In the article he lists 10 specific cultural shifts from assets to liabilities. Here are a few that I found especially interesting:

#1. Feeding ourselves used to be a matter of national pride.

Being a part of the farmers who feed the people in my area is definitely something I would be proud of! But, our agribusiness now likes to buy beef from South America rather than from our own back yard.

#6. Once upon a time, farmers and related agribusinesses hired their neighbors.
My favorite place to shop in town is our local Coast Hardware store. It is owned and run by an older couple that have made that business their life. When I go in looking for a part and I don't know exactly the size I need, they load me up with three or four and tell me to bring back the ones that don't work when I get a chance. That is the type of community that will make our country and our families strong!

#7. During most of America's history, farmers peddled their wares in town.
This is all about cutting out the middle man and bringing the profits back to the farmers. Think about those Cheerios you buy at the store ... how much do you think the farmer gets of that $3.00 box of food?

#10. The early American ideal of the gentleman farmer, the noble, landed yeoman, was once revered as a cornerstone of the true wealth in this nation.
We need to restore the cultural view of farmers, and the only way by doing that is creating relationships between the farmers and the buyers. Again, think about those Cheerios ... do you have a relationship with that farmer?

Another quote I especially enjoyed is this one:

One of the greatest assets on a farm, in my view, is the sheer ecstasy of life. The priceless enjoyment of life's spontaneity must now bow to the unrelenting predictability of mechanized life. What an unfortunate change on the balance sheet.

I encourage you to check out this article. Like the last couple I have posted it speaks to shaping your world view and why we do the things we do (or in my case ... what I want to do). But, I will tell you that it makes me want to farm and farm differently...

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