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farm aid


paisley
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you know what i think is weird? how we as a society value the different roles that are played. teachers, nurses and farmers are incredibly important to how our society functions, they play roles that are in fact crucial to our daily lives. they have to have a lot of knowledge, skill and dedication to perform their jobs yet their pay is way out of scale with what they do. if you want to be rich everyone knows you don't become a teacher, farmer or nurse. that's the stuff you do because you love it and it's a part of who you are. these people are so important they provide us with food, health and education. there isn't too much else that is that important. why do these people have to resort to strikes and protests just to be able to make forty thousand dollars a year? that really is not that much money. i know people that sell cell phones for a living and make that much on commission. are cell phones important to our survival????? i just really thing that's warped. props to the farmers for organizing such an amazing protest and highlighting a very important issue.

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sports figures make millions.

daycare workers make 20k a year (if they're lucky).

small farm farmers make less than minimum wage if you work the hours out.

farming is becoming a corporate activity, large agri-business runs the show and hires "guest labour" from [insert impoverished developing nation here]. the farmers that are left have every right to bitch and shut down the highways, whatever it takes to draw attention to the many flaws in our food system, not the least of which being the economic horse-whipping that farmers are taking.

no farmers, no food. no food, no people.

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I certainly agree that farmers have a hard time making a living these days. We in Canada have the cheapest food in the world if you look at it from the perspective of the percentage of our disposable income that we spend on food. I applaud farmers for protesting to draw attention to the issue. That said, some of the things farmers are looking for from government in this protest are way off base. Large-scale farming is responsible for a wide range of environmental concerns, yet farmers involved in this protest are opposed to many regulations designed to protect our environment; including the Nutrient Management Act, Greenbelt legislation, habitat protection for wildlife, and buffer zones to protect waterways. They are also seeking money for tobacco production and unfettered access to water for irrigation purposes. These are important issues that farmers have to accept responsibility for, both in terms of farmers' role in causing the problems and their role in the solutions. The high-input, large-scale farming operations that are typical in Canada are inefficient and ill-advised. The mad cow crisis, for example, would never have occurred if beef farmers and agri-business had been properly concerned about animal welfare issues instead of cheap feed sources. Many problems in agriculture could be solved simply by changing breeding practices of crops and livestock to focus on overall health rather than aesthetics and high yields, and by moving toward mixed farming practices that encourage proper recycling of nutrients. Government needs to step up in compensating farmers for loss of land use, and in supporting farmers who are making the adjustments neccessary for responsible agriculture, but regulations are needed to protect our landbase, wildlife, and water resources. Moratoriums or rejection of environmental initiatives are not the answer.

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wow, staggerleee, you hit the nail on the head. as with any protest, the farmers are no more a united front than anti-globalization protesters, and within farm groups there's a very scary attitude about land rights and water access. "it's my land, i'll do what i like on it."

coupled with that is the need to compete with giant agri-business, and that leads to bigger and bigger operations and more and more energy-intensive farming. all of this to keep tomatoes at 99 cents a pound.

onthejourney's point about monsanto is a whole other sordid side to the farm world...the idea that farmers can no longer save seed and are going back year after year to Monsanto for seed and matching petrochemical fertilizer and herbicide makes me shudder. (this practice is becoming really widespread in the developing world. check out vandana shiva's navdanya foundation at http://www.vshiva.net/index.html if you're not already mad at monsanto).

while elements of the farm protest movement may not have it all together right, because of them we're talking about it. (~);)

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if everyone would stop eating beef and eat more soy we could get rid of a lot of those problems and the farmers would still have work! ;)

Good point, but soy products taste horrible. As a hippie you may be able to stomach that garbage but my pallet is cultured and accepts no substitutes.

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