"Bigger is better," but isn't "smaller" the best?
The report of the United Nations Conference, at Maastricht, The Netherlands, Sept. 14, states that "small farmers worldwide produce from two to 10 times more per unit area than do larger, corporate farmers."
In order to keep the family farmer on the land, we are appealing to farm organizations, civic and commercial organizations, churches and social groups and government agencies to support the following provisions--as an option for family farmers--in the next U.S. farm bill. These three provisions are:
1. U.S. Department of Agriculture farm support be limited to each producer's share of the U.S. domestic human consumption of staple commodities.
2. A marketing card be issued to producers stating the producer's eligibility and entitling each to full cost of production.
3. USDA deficiency payment--the difference between the market price and the actual cost of production--be made at the Farm Service Agency office when the commodity is sold.
For the wheat producers, this means about $9.66 per bushel based on 20 bushels per acre (U.S. needs 1.2 billion bushels); for corn producers, it means about $6.67 per bushel based on 40 bushels per acre (U.S. needs 3 billion bushels); for milk producers, it means $31.60 per cwt. based on 60 pounds per cow per day (U.S. needs 2.16 billion cwt.).
Congress would set the top limit of total support per producer.
This plan, inserted as an option for the farm operator, would stop foreclosure; stop overproduction; hold grain on-the-farm in reserve for disasters and future sales; and keep a food reserve for the nation at fair and reasonable retail prices irrespective of "dumping" by foreign nations.
This plan would "up-size" the family farmer financially--enabling him to compete more efficiently with the mega farms, maintain the community and care for the countryside.--Al P. Schmitz, Brockton, MT, Family Farmer Organization, Inc., president.