Facing the farm crisis
5th June, 2000
Big may look impressive, but life can be hell for the individual in agriculture today. The problems are vast and complex, and do not lend themselves to easy answers. So what is the agricultural crisis all about, and what can be done to tackle it? Steven Gorelick seeks out the true root of the crisis.
Glamorous excess is a staple of the mainstream media, even in its economic reporting. Stories about soaring corporate profits, exorbitant CEO salaries, improbably high stock prices, and the billions made by obscure dot-com start-ups so dominate the news that one could easily believe the global economy is making everyone (else) rich. But high-flying winners are the exception in today’s economic casino, and no-one is losing out more than small farmers.
Crisis - what crisis?
In country after country, farmers are said to be in ‘crisis’, a word that only hints at the devastation besetting rural communities. In Europe, 200,000 farmers and 600,000 beef producers gave up agriculture in 1999. UK farm income, according to the Farmer’s Guardian, has dropped by as much as 75 per cent over the past two years, driving more than 20,000 farmers from the land. British farmgate prices for virtually every commodity — including beef, lamb, milk, pork, chicken, eggs, oilseed rape, fruit and vegetables — are so low that farmers are getting less for them than they cost to produce.
American farmers are doing no better. Farm income in the US declined by...
To view the rest of this article - you must be a paying subscriber and Login
Using this website means you agree to us using simple cookies.