The Rural Yonder, an online rural digest, recently posted an interesting commentary discussing Missouri farmers and the choices they face between commodity and market sales, and the stories of a few folks making the transition. Well worth the full read, but I have to highlight a few choice quotes for posterity:
One thing I’ve learned from being a farmer is that the government generally thinks it knows more about my business than I do.
Anyone who has read much on my Policy tag knows why I chose this quote.
The way Joe Maxwell sees it, if farmers want to produce USDA regulated commodities, “It’s OK.” But if farmers want to grow and market food to earn a better return and sustain the family farm, then that should be OK, too, even though moving out of the commodity production comfort zone can require a commitment of time above and beyond the call of duty
Boy, I couldn’t agree more. Far too many well-meaning folks spend their energy demonizing the practices, products, and ideas they don’t like, while neglecting to consider what they expect the folks in question to do about it. We don’t always need more laws and restrictions; we need more options, too. We’d all be far better off working toward more freedom for farmers to make real choices about their products and markets, toward more opportunities for consumers to make real choices about the types of foods they can purchase from farmers, and developing a more effective role for government that emphasizes ensuring openness and fair markets rather than artificial supports or arbitrary laws. The farmers in the article above made a difficult choice that benefitted them; let’s work to make those choices easier.