Several years ago, when I sat on the board of an organic certification agency, a new board member asked, “Why would anyone want to do this?”, and I replied, “Because someone has to.” Someone has to represent farmers to enable them to continue doing what they do every day – feeding the rest of us.
Someone has to advocate for family farmers, for farm justice, for the environment, for rural communities, and for a fair food system that works for everyone. Every day the National Family Farm Coalition is standing up for family farmers’ rights, and we can’t do it without your support.
Why do family farmers need our help? Consider these issues of farm justice, or rather, farm injustice:
- A few months of higher milk prices haven’t helped dairy farmers break even.
- Like dairy farmers, livestock producers ride a roller coaster of price swings, never achieving economic sustainability.
- Ongoing mergers and acquisitions in agricultural markets and supply chains give major corporations big profit margins but put farmers and farm workers further in debt.
- Arbitrary trade policy puts farmers –especially grain and livestock producers – in even deeper peril because they have lost markets they worked for years to develop.
- Farm bankruptcies have risen 24% from 2018, forcing especially small farms to sell out, leading to further corporate consolidation of our farmland and food systems.
Farm debt is expected to hit an all-time high in 2019, which bodes badly for rural America – for those who live there as well as the farmers who want to be part of the local food system most Americans want.
That’s why our work at the National Family Farm Coalition is so important.
In the coming months and years, we will launch campaigns to stop the corporate domination of our farmland and food systems while ensuring fair prices and dignified livelihoods for family farmers, ranchers, fishermen and workers.
Recently, Agriculture Secretary Perdue said, “In America, the big get bigger and the small go out.” Esquire Magazine’s Charlie Pierce noted, “It takes a rare fella to say so plainly that America is essentially a monopoly culture, and that the ultimate goal of a free market is to achieve the absolute minimal amount of actual competition – especially to an audience of people whose livelihoods are being destroyed by those very dynamics.” Well stated.
That’s one reason why NFFC continues our work – we are tired of seeing peoples’ livelihoods, the land, and our food systems minimized and destroyed. Family farmers are not only essential to a healthy and just food system, but they are also a major part of the solution to climate change.
On Thanksgiving weekend, I was invited to be part of a Fire Drill Friday climate change protest in Washington, DC. Climate change affects every part of society, and farmers and fishermen directly; worldwide it disproportionately affects the people we need to defend – indigenous people and communities of color.
As I said in DC, it’s time for agriculture that respects the rights of farmers, farmworkers, and Nature; and a food system controlled by farmers and the people we feed – not corporate profit margins or the global economy. It’s time to invest in truly restorative regenerative agriculture and end the agricultural industrial complex – corporate consolidation, factory farms, and junk food.
At the National Family Farm Coalition we are calling on everyone who wants fair wages in a fair economy, equal education, racial justice, gender equity, real health care, locally fresh and affordable food, and clean air and water to join us and support this work.
It’s time for all of us – especially family farmers, ranchers and fishermen who only ask for fair prices and fair markets – to show that it is not time to get big or get out. It’s time to stand up for family farmers.
As we end 2019, we are grateful for your donations that have made it possible for us to continue mobilizing our member organizations and their communities.
Please donate today and continue supporting our work.
Because someone has to.
With warm regards and our wishes for a happy Holiday Season and a peaceful New Year,
Jim Goodman. NFFC Board President