By Suzanne Lamborn, Little Britain Monthly Meeting, Baltimore Yearly Meeting
My husband and I can trace our roots for each generation from the beginning of the colonies in agriculture. Being farmers we were aware that our nation went from over 90 percent farming to the present 1 percent owning farms plus 1 percent more involved in harvesting. Our dairy farm taught me that try as I might that I am in control of nothing. I value that lesson. We loved our lifestyle even if it meant thawing water bowls on Christmas, and we were concerned with conservation, the well-being of our animals, and the lack of knowledge most of the citizens have of how food gets to them.
Most farmers get by with inadequate income. Presently dairy farmers do not receive enough income from the sale of milk to cover expenses. False press makes matters worse. 1.9 percent of the methane comes from cattle. I suspect more comes from humans and their pets. Milk is a food that is better for our bodies than the imitation milk products.
Looking at history most of us learned about Shay’s rebellion; a case of the farmers not being able to sell their products as they were too far from the markets. It was cost effective to make grain into alcohol to get over the mountains. Politicians decided they were in control. Today we have politicians continually trying to control all.
I learned about Range magazine at Yearly Meeting. It tells about ranching. The ranchers love their land and have learned how to feed their animals on grass they can grow, often depending on using government land to supplement their grazing. Too much of the west is still owned by the government. Laws are made that take away grazing rights that have been a part of many ranches.
People who love all animals influence the bureaucrats to make rules that make no sense. Too many wild horses are starving as they reproduce faster than the plant life they need in order to survive. Keeping cattle off areas is detrimental to the land. In a sense they take the place of the buffalo that kept the plains healthy. Almost every issue shows pictures of government neighboring land becoming a desert versus a well-managed ranch with plenty of grass.
While we were still farming we became involved with Unity with Nature. We were at odds with most of the people who meant well, but did not know anything about living with the land. Many knew what they read and took it as gospel. I hope more effort can be made to include agriculture in your concern. I get so tired of hearing that corporate farms are bad. Many corporations are formed to keep families farming. It is unlikely that more people will turn to farming as a way of life as there are no vacations unless you can afford to hire someone to do your work in your absence. Income is well below the level of most of the people involved with Befriending Creation.