The Solution is under our feet Tom Newmark, ex-CEO of New Chapter and co-founder of the Carbon Underground Project, has said it best: ďMany NGOs view carbon and agriculture as the 'enemy.' The regenerative movement sees carbon as our friend, and agriculture as our natural ally to help our friend carbon return to the land." The challenge is that the enemies of all things natural, i.e., Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta, are culture jamming in hope that the regenerative message won't go viral.
According to yet another study Converting to pastures managed using intensive grazing principles can capture up to 8 metric tons of carbon per hectare, or 3.6 tons per acre, per year in the soil. This makes the soils more nutrient-rich and allows them to hold more water.
The Soil Solution published in EcoFarming Daily by the editors of Acres USA.
Healthy land retains water and its cooling properties.
Regenerative, carbon sequestering agriculture can't be done industrially! under 4 minutes
The Great Carbon Con under 14 minutes, with many cited sources in the description box, ties money flows to the Climate Change debate.
The World Bank estimates that in 2009 over 45 million hectares of land were taken over by investors worldwide, most of it in Africa - and always to feed the "green economy" myth. Article here: Africa Land Grabbing
The Meaty Side of Climate Change, referring here to CAFO operations of course.
Series of articles, going under the main title of The Wrong Kind of Green, dissecting the manner in which what lead author Cory Morningstar calls "industrial capitalism wedded to investment capital" influences our perceptions, beliefs and actions concerning climate change.
To deal with Climate Change We Need a New Financial System by Jason Hickel. Abolishing debt-based currency isnít a new idea, but it could hold the secret to ending our economiesí environmentally damaging addiction to growth.
Farm Income Data Debunks Subsidy Myths 'Clearly, small farms are benefitting very little, particularly when you exclude conservation programs. And the data make it clear that payments are poorly targeted in relation to need. In 2008, small and medium farmers actually had negative on-farm incomes. The entirety of their income was secured off the farm. Yet it was the large commercial farms that pulled in government subsidies in addition to their profits. The USDA graph below demonstrates that the income picture for intermediate farms is not as rosy as the aggregate data suggests, because large commercial farms are doing so well. Nonetheless, our farm programs are doing little to help the struggling middle of the agriculture sector.''
Most farmers receive off-farm income but small farmers depend on it. Slightly less than half of all U.S. farms (of which 91% are classified as "small") are very small, with annual sales less than $10,000. Read more.
This situation was advocated by the 1962 CED white paper "An Adaptive Program for Agriculture" and similar policy papers. A pdf of the 1962 CED report can be found mid-page here. A 2014 chart entitled The Decline of the small American Family Farm in One Chart is a simple graphic representation of the success of the CED policy.
Ninety-one percent of U.S. farms are classified as smallógross cash farm income (GCFI) of less than $250,000. About 60 percent of these small farms are very small, generating [farm income] of less than $10,000. . . Overall farm production . . .continues to shift to larger operations . . . read more
In a poignant personal account of her venture into farming, the author of a 2015 article titled of What Nobody Told Me About Small Farming: I Can't Make a Living says in part:
On the radio this morning I heard a story about the growing number of young people choosing to become farmers. The farmers in the story sounded a lot like me ó in their late 20s to mid-30s, committed to organic practices, holding college degrees, and from middle-class non-farming backgrounds. Some raise animals or tend orchards. Others, like me, grow vegetables. The farmersí days sounded long but fulfilling, drenched in sun and dirt. The story was uplifting, a nice antidote to the constant reports of industrial ag gone wrong, of pink slime and herbicide-resistant super-weeds.
What the reporter didnít ask the young farmers was: Do you make a living? Can you afford rent, healthcare? Can you pay your labor a living wage? If the reporter had asked me these questions, I would have said no. . .
. . . I wondered how many small farmers actually made a living. Before I set out trying to answer this question, I had to define what constitutes ďa living.Ē I decided making a living meant three things: 1) The farmer had to pay herself a weekly wage that equaled what a person working full-time would make on minimum wage, which in my town would be $360 per week. 2) The farmer had to abide by labor laws, meaning no unpaid workers or interns doing essential farm tasks. 3) The farmer had to earn her income from farming, which meant nonprofit farms that survived on grants and donations didnít count; neither did farms that sustained themselves on outside income sources.
I talked to all the farmers I knew, considered farms I or my partner had worked at in the past, farms Iíd visited, friendsí farms. Most farmers I talked to worked outside jobs to keep their farms above water, others skirted by on an income they calculated to be $4 per hours, and most depended on interns, volunteers or WWOOFers for labor. I did not encounter a single farmer who met my requirements.
Then I looked into national statistics. According to USDA data from 2012, intermediate-size farms like mine, which gross more than $10,000 but less than $250,000, obtain only 10 percent of their household income from the farm, and 90 percent from an off-farm source. Smaller farms actually lost money farming and earned 109 percent of their household income from off-farm sources.
Only the largest farms, which represent just 10 percent of farming households in the country and most of which received large government subsidies, earned the majority of their income from farm sources. So, 90 percent of farmers in this country rely on an outside job, or a spouseís outside job, or some independent form of wealth, for their primary income. . .
. . . My farmís become a billboard, and like all billboards, this one is deceptive. It depicts abundance and prosperity ó two young smiling farmers working among neat rows of greens under a crisp morning sun. Heaping bins of produce, all of it picked fresh and free of synthetic chemicals. Despite all the talk of small farms disappearing, despite concerns of big ag controlling our food, GMOing everything and dousing it all in RoundUp, driving past my farm one might feel a flutter of relief, think thereís a small farm right there where I can go and pick up a bag of organic baby kale, spot a bluebird resting on a fig branch, notice a patch of weeds growing among the lettuce.
Meanwhile, millions of dollars in federal subsidies are doled out to mono-crop farms growing high-input GMO corn and soybeans. Meanwhile, the EPA continues to approve the use of pesticides such as Atrazine, which have been linked to birth defects, infertility and cancer. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court rules in favor of Monsanto, allowing the corporation to sue farmers whose fields are inadvertently contaminated with GMO seeds. Meanwhile, Ryan and I rifle the Internet in search of a new opportunity, one that can provide us with enough income to purchase health insurance or see the dentist, to take our soon-to-be-born child on a trip to visit its grandparents, to save a little chunk of money each year so that one day we might be able to buy a piece of land ourselves, and perhaps then we could return to farming. Because the truth is, no matter how many young people choose to farm, no matter how many bunches of kale are made into smoothies, or canvas shopping bags are packed full of colorful carrots and lacy heads of lettuce, no matter how many hip new restaurants declare themselves farm-to-fork, none of these things address the policies that dictate how our countryís food system works, policies that have created a society in which the small farmer canít even earn a living.
The End of Organic Farming Might be Sooner than We Thought.
Small Farms: Perceptions vs. Realities
From a 2018 article titled What Are Farm Subsidies the author reveals that:
According to the Cato Institute, the largest 15 percent of farm businesses receive 85 percent of the subsidies.
The Environmental Working Group, a database that tracks $349 billion in farm subsidies paid between 1995 and 2016 backs these statistics up. While the general public may believe that the majority of subsidies go to helping small family operations, the primary beneficiaries are instead the largest producers of commodities like corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, and rice:
"Despite the rhetoric of 'preserving the family farm,' the vast majority of farmers do not benefit from federal farm subsidy programs and most of the subsidies go to the largest and most financially secure farm operations. Small commodity farmers qualify for a mere pittance, while producers of meat, fruits, and vegetables are almost completely left out of the subsidy game."
. . .
. . .Representatives on both sides of the aisle, in particular, those concerned with growing federal budget deficits, decry these subsidies as nothing more than corporate giveaways. Even though the 2014 farm bill limits the amount paid to a person who is "actively engaged" in farming to $125,000, in reality, reports the Environmental Working Group, "Large and complex farm organizations have consistently found ways to avoid these limits."
Furthermore, many political pundits believe that subsidies actually harm both farmers and consumers. Says Chris Edwards, writing for the blog Downsizing the Federal Government:
"Subsidies inflate land prices in rural America. And the flow of subsidies from Washington hinders farmers from innovating, cutting costs, diversifying their land use, and taking the actions needed to prosper in a competitive global economy."
Even the historically liberal New York Times has called the system a "joke" and a "slush fund." Although writer Mark Bittman advocates for reforming the subsidies, not ending them, his scathing assessment of the system in 2011 still stings today:
"That the current system is a joke is barely arguable: wealthy growers are paid even in good years, and may receive drought aid when thereís no drought. Itís become so bizarre that some homeowners lucky enough to have bought land that once grew rice now have subsidized lawns. Fortunes have been paid to Fortune 500 companies and even gentlemen farmers like David Rockefeller. Thus even House Speaker Boehner calls the bill a 'slush fund'."
A 2013 article titled Farm Susbsidies: a welfare program for agribusiness asks why is the farm bill so controversial? For us, part of the answer is that:
About 75 percent of total subsidies go to the biggest 10 percent of farming companies, including Riceland Foods Inc., Pilgrims Pride Corp., and Archer Daniels Midland. Among the "farmers" who get federal subsidies are Bruce Springsteen (who leases land to an organic farmer), Jon Bon Jovi (who owns bee colonies), former President Jimmy Carter, and billionaire media mogul Ted Turner.
The Coachella Valley: the other side of the story. In the Fields: Near Meloland, Imperial Valley. Large scale agriculture. Gang labor, Mexican and white, from the Southwest. Pull, clean, tie and crate carrots for the eastern market for eleven cents per crate of forty-eight bunches. Many can make barely one dollar a day. Heavy oversupply of labor and competition for jobs is keen.