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Thu Mar 28, 2019, 12:23 PM

Bernie Sanders: I'll fight for farmers against powerful agribusiness

Bernie Sanders, Guest columnist Published 11:06 a.m. CT March 28, 2019


In the end, the desperation felt by families in rural communities is about basic economic rights and freedom. Farmers have been systematically stripped of their ability to control their own futures and no longer know whether their hard work will earn them future success and stability. Storefronts are empty and farmers have been forced to sell their land that has been kept in families for generations to massive corporations.

For the massive agribusinesses that control much of rural America, it’s a different story. These corporations have seen profits skyrocket and compensation packages for CEOs increase to record levels.

But nothing sums up our rigged agricultural industry quite like the Bayer-Monsanto megamerger.

The prices for corn seed have doubled and prices for chemicals used in farming have roughly tripled in the last 30 years. Yet, the Trump administration was happy to give these two conglomerates 78 percent of the corn seed market. While that deal could end up further jacking up seed prices for Iowa corn farmers, the CEO of Monsanto was rewarded with a golden parachute worth up to $32 million.

This massive transfer of wealth from working people in America’s heartland to corporate CEOs is having more than just a financial toll on rural America. It has led to personal pain as entire rural communities are devastated by opioid addiction and a too-often-ignored mental health crisis has led to a spike in farmer suicides.

This is not happening by accident. It is the result of Washington putting the interests of the top 1 percent first. That is why, now more than ever, we need policies that represent the needs of working people and family farmers, not big agribusiness and multinational corporations.


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Reply Bernie Sanders: I'll fight for farmers against powerful agribusiness (Original post)
Donkees Mar 2019 OP
corbettkroehler Mar 2019 #1
Donkees Mar 2019 #2
corbettkroehler Mar 2019 #3

Response to Donkees (Original post)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 10:50 AM

1. I First Learned About Farmer Suicide Rates In India

Over there, the cause most often was failed crops due to drought, largely caused by climate change. The phenomenon has come home to America thanks to a Congress paid for by BigAg and a Justice Department too facile to enforce what few laws we have.

Let's all remember that we had a chance to reapportion subsidies under the Farm Act a few years ago so that one family could not scoop up all of the money by creating multiple subsidiary companies under different names. It was fillibustered by both parties.

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Response to corbettkroehler (Reply #1)

Sat Mar 30, 2019, 12:44 PM

2. In addition, ''water-guzzling cash crops led to water shortages and groundwater depletion.''

With 60 years’ hands-on farming experience, Bhaskar Save was able to describe how the green revolution in India destroyed traditional farming, which, among other things, was much more drought resistant, and how water-guzzling cash crops led to water shortages and groundwater depletion. Vandana Shiva has also outlined the devastating impact of the green revolution on both food security and water resources along with the degradation of soil, including its diminished capacity for storing water.

As with Save, Singh says the steps taken by the government over a period of decades have nullified the work of his ancestors because the crops previously grown did not require much water. With the green revolution, though, underground water began to be extracted heavily to sustain the thirst of the seeds, whereas local seeds were tested and adapted to fight drought.

At the centre of it all, says Singh, was « the ruling class’s apathy towards farmers manifested in their lack of representation in policy formation.


This is because their business models and practices grow out of and drive a political and economic system run by oligarchical interests.


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Response to Donkees (Reply #2)

Sun Mar 31, 2019, 03:19 PM

3. Great Follow-Up! I Appreciate Your Wisdom! (n/t)

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