Shepherds Critique of American Ag

Disappearing farms coupled with rural America’s decay. This stinging, yet authentic and close-to-the-mark perspective published in the ‘NY Times’ is MUST READ and should give us all pause about the impact by the errant direction of modern consolidating agriculture. Jim

“I am a traditional small farmer in the North of England. I farm sheep in a mountainous landscape, the Lake District fells. It is a farming system that dates back as many as 4,500 years…

“It’s not your efficient modern agribusiness. My farm struggles to make enough money for my family to live on, even with 900 sheep. The price of my lambs is governed by the supply of imported lamb from the other side of the world. So I have one foot in something ancient and the other foot in the 21st-century global economy.

“Less than 3 percent of people in modern industrial economies are farmers. But around the world, I am not alone: The United Nations estimates that more than two billion people are farmers, most of them small farmers; that’s about one in three people on the planet…

“In truth, I could accept the changes around me philosophically, including the disappearance of farms like mine, if the results made for a better world and society. But the world I am seeing evolve in front of my eyes isn’t better, it is worse. Much worse.

“In the week before the United States elected Donald J. Trump to the presidency, I traveled through Kentucky, through endless miles of farmland and small towns. It was my first visit to the United States, for a book tour. I was shocked by the signs of decline I saw in rural America…

“Perhaps it is none of my business how Americans conduct their affairs and how they think about economics. I should doubtless go back to the mountains of my home here in Cumbria, and hold my tongue. But for my entire life, my own country has apathetically accepted an American model of farming and food retailing, mostly through a belief that it was the way of progress and the natural course of economic development. As a result, America’s future is the default for us all.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/01/opinion/an-english-sheep-farmers-view-of-rural-america.html?_r=1