Wed Jan 9, 2013, 03:29 PM
tama (9,137 posts)
People & Power - Greece: The Odyssey
As another difficult year for the battered European economy ends, many Greeks have taken a bold decision to return to the land to survive. Is economic salvation to be found in Greece's rich and fertile soil?
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Response to tama (Original post)
Thu Jan 10, 2013, 10:29 AM
fasttense (16,304 posts)
1. Many Americans have also returned to the land
But it is very difficult to make a living off the land in the US. First we have huge agriculture businesses that get subsidized by our federal government. So for example, if you decide to grow corn, you have to compete with Agribusinesses who ship in corn to your state by the ton and sell it at rock bottom prices. A family farmer can't afford to sell corn at 25 to 50 cents an ear. It just wont cover his costs and labor. But a big corporation that gets millions of dollars in agriculture subsidies from the taxpayers can keep lowering their prices until they wipe the family farmer out.
You have to hunt for things that are difficult to ship from long distances and specialty item vegetables that most stores don't carry. I have found that the reason many huge agribusinesses don't grow certain vegetables and most grocery stores don't carry them is that they are very difficult to grow, store or harvest. So then a small farmer has to put in more time and labor on crops that are more difficult to manage and harvest just so he can have a commodity to sell.
But you have to always be looking over your shoulder to see what big ag and the federal government is up to so they don't come and takeover a niche market you have developed. Take sheep for instance. If you decide to raise sheep and sell lamb, the government will subsidizes you only if you have a large herd. Don't expect to raise 40 sheep and get the same amount of monetary assistance from the government as the guy who is raising hundreds and hundreds of sheep. The government will pay the sheep farm that has 300 head for a new barn but the guy who has 40 heads will get nothing. So, now the big sheep farms out competes the small farmer because they don't have the cost of barns to deal with.
You don't expect the government to save you, or rescue you, but you don't expect them to make it harder on you either and that is exactly what the government does here in the US to small farmers.