Re: Agricultural Disaster (was Re: [gardeners] Drought)

Allen and Judy Merten (
Thu, 24 Jun 1999 00:38:16 -0500

Hi Barbara,
    No offense taken down here in Texas. I saw the same heart breaking situation
in Texas and Oklahoma last year. Many family farmers have lost it all because of
the drought in 1996 followed by 1998's drought.
    Many of the safety nets offered by the US government since the dust
bowl/depression days have been removed by the Republican Party which has
controlled our Congress for the last few years. Without those programs to
protect the farmer from crop failures, banks and agri-business giants have
sucked up those family farms. Farmers have been displaced from their farms that
had been in the same family since the first furrow was plowed on that land.
    Suicide, depression, domestic violence and divorce rates among farming
communities have risen drastically according to reports that I have seen on some
of the network tv "news magazine" programs.
    Besides the human tragedy of this situation, many agri-business giants are
owned by or own agrochemical giants. Pesticide and fertilizer usage, monoculture
agricultural practices, etc., does not bode well for the environment or the
health of those employed on those giant farms.
    The drought years have touched my family's farm also. The farm has been in
our family since the 1840's. 1998 was the first year that no cattle not even a
milk cow was kept on the farm. I had never in my 50 yrs seen such a thing or
even considered that there would ever be a time when no cattle would be on the
farm. Due to the fiscal philosophy of my Dad's family the farm has no
encumbrances other than taxes.
    Off of my soap box now. Like Barb, I have hopes that no one is offended by
this message. I do hope that it is food for thought though.
    Bastrop Co.
    SE Central Tx.

Barbara Jackson wrote:

> Evening gardeners,
> I haven't posted much lately (been away to England and back home to battle
> weeds and an overgrown garden).  But, when I saw all this talk of drought, I
> had to tel you all what we have been experiencing here in SW Manitoba and S
> Saskatchewan on the Canadian Prairies.  I guess extremes of rain or no rain
> can be equally as devastating but here is what we have been contending with
> this spring.
> It is so WET up here, ducks are nesting in the ditches.  We have received
> double the normal amount of rainfall for Manitoba in May and early June and
> Saskatchewan has almost tripled their normal rainfall amounts.  Almost Well
> over 75% of farmers in Southern Saskatchewan and South Western Manitoba
> can't get on the land to seed their crops.  Those that have made it onto the
> land have trucks on standby in case they get stuck so they can be pulled
> out.  It has been estimated that less than 50% of available land will be
> seeded this year in southern Saskatchewan and southwestern Manitoba.  It
> will be devastating for the small family farmer with little or no crop
> insurance.  Around  here if you don't seed you aren't eligible for insurance
> coverage for losses.
> And, since we are an agricultural area it is not only the farmers that will
> suffer in the end.  One farm equipment dealership has gone bankrupt already
> (in an area where the water table is so high that the roads are actually
> collapsing).  This will have an economic impact on my city as well as an
> even greater impact on the surrounding rural towns and villages.  They are
> actually going to hire psychiatric nurses (my brother is onem of them) whose
> exclusive job will be to counsel farm families in crisis in SW Manitoba this
> year.
> So, when I see that I have a peony that just might not make it because it
> has been in standing water for 3 weeks or that the wind has blown over a
> couple of iris bloomstalks or that the majority of my lilies have rust, I'm
> trying to keep it in perspective.  The peony may or may not come back and
> the iris will more than likely flower again next year, the lily will survive
> the rust and come back even bigger and better next year.  But, the farmer
> who loses the family farm after it has been in the family 150 years doesn't
> get a second chance when the bank forecloses.  He/she doesn't get a second
> chance when they can't get credit to fix machinery or buy groceries for
> their families.  This, too, shall pass for me but it might not for the
> farmers of the area.
> Sorry to unload guys.  Hope nobody takes offense, just had to get it off my
> chest.
> Barb
> Barbara Jackson
> "Sunny" Manitoba (yeah, right!)
> Zone 3 Canadian Prairies