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Sun Dec 1, 2019, 02:33 PM

'They're trying to wipe us off the map.' Small American farmers are nearing extinction

Fremont, Wisconsin — For nearly two centuries, the Rieckmann family has raised cows for milk in this muddy patch of land in the middle of Wisconsin. Mary and John Rieckmann, who now run the farm and its 45 cows, have seen all manners of ups and downs — droughts, floods, oversupplies of milk that sent prices tumbling. But they’ve never seen a crisis quite like this one.

The Rieckmanns are about $300,000 in debt, and bill collectors are hounding them about the feed bill and a repayment for a used tractor they bought to keep the farm going. But it’s harder than ever to make any money, much less pay the debt, Mary Rieckmann says, in the yellow-wallpapered kitchen of the sagging farmhouse where she lives with her husband, John, and two of their seven children. The Rieckmanns receive about $16 for every 100 pounds of milk they sell, a 40 percent decrease from six years back. There are weeks where the entire milk check goes towards the $2,100 monthly mortgage payment. Two bill collectors have taken out liens against the farm. “What do you do when you you’re up against the wall and you just don’t know which way to turn?” Rieckmann says, as her ancient fridge begins to hum. Mary, 79, and John, 80, had hoped to leave the farm to their two sons, age 55 and 50, who still live with them and run the farm. Now they’re less focused on their legacy than about making it through the week.

In the American imagination, at least, the family farm still exists as it does on holiday greeting cards: as a picturesque, modestly prosperous expanse that wholesomely fills the space between the urban centers where most of us live. But it has been declining for generations, and the closing days of 2019 find small farms pummeled from every side: a trade war, severe weather associated with climate change, tanking commodity prices related to globalization, political polarization, and corporate farming defined not by a silo and a red barn but technology and the efficiencies of scale. It is the worst crisis in decades. Chapter 12 farm bankruptcies were up 12 percent in the Midwest from July of 2018 to June of 2019; they’re up 50 percent in the Northwest. Tens of thousands have simply stopped farming, knowing that reorganization through bankruptcy won’t save them. The nation lost more than 100,000 farms between 2011 and 2018; 12,000 of those between 2017 and 2018 alone.

Farm debt, at $416 billion, is at an all-time high. More than half of all farmers have lost money every year since since 2013, and lost more than $1,644 this year. Farm loan delinquencies are rising.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/theyre-trying-to-wipe-us-off-the-map-small-american-farmers-are-nearing-extinction/ar-BBXqKFy?li=BBnbfcN

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Reply 'They're trying to wipe us off the map.' Small American farmers are nearing extinction (Original post)
Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin Dec 1 OP
Takket Dec 1 #1
dawg day Dec 1 #2
Newest Reality Dec 1 #3
Hermit-The-Prog Dec 1 #4
LakeArenal Dec 1 #5
Wellstone ruled Dec 1 #6
Recursion Dec 1 #7
blueinredohio Dec 1 #8
sakabatou Dec 1 #9
Kaleva Dec 1 #10
jberryhill Dec 1 #11
Kaleva Dec 1 #12
kacekwl Dec 1 #13

Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Original post)

Sun Dec 1, 2019, 02:39 PM

1. maybe voting republican for the 20th election in a row will help them........

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Response to Takket (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 1, 2019, 02:51 PM

2. Yesssss...

They kinda need to figure out what is obvious to everyone else.

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Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Original post)

Sun Dec 1, 2019, 02:52 PM

3. That is quite a crisis!

It would be nice if small farms could grow and prosper for many reasons.

Well, they really should go to their GOP representatives and have them fix this, no? I hear Trump is fixing everything, so he should be on that really soon if not already. Winning the trade war he started will be a big remedy.

Yes, I am being pretentiously sarcastic, but I don't see how any affiliation with Republicans is in the favor of small farmers or any small businesses or the workers. Maybe I am missing something.

Yes, I know the whole thing is changing in many ways as we speak and BigAgra is another vacuum sucking it up. I do have empathy for the kind of situation and chaos that confronts honest, hard-working folks in rural eras and some of this is going to get really bad and adapting is going to be difficult if not impossible. Yet, we are all going to be in that boat very soon if the Fourth Digital Revolution and the AI leans toward the neoliberal, profit-side in its algorithms.

Let's keep in mind that about 80% of the food market is now owned and controlled by a handful of corporate entities. When you see the price of food continually rising, it is not always tied to just market rates. Notice that it goes up, but not down in price? You only get sales to influence your choices and for other reasons. There is some monopoly going on and your portions will get smaller and the prices will steadily increase. Now, what are the farmers to do?

Oh Brave New World, it's wonders to behold!

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Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Original post)

Sun Dec 1, 2019, 02:58 PM

4. it's a mopping-up operation after Reaganites started the war on family farms

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Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Original post)

Sun Dec 1, 2019, 03:22 PM

5. I know lots of small farmers or small farmer wanna bees,

There is grumbling but not much on trump.
Crazy as it is. Somehow they still blame Democrats for every problem.

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Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Original post)

Sun Dec 1, 2019, 03:30 PM

6. Very obvious

to many,you vote for a single issue year after year,it will come back to bite your butt Financially and Personally.

What hits home is,I knew some of these Dairy Farm Families personally. They would not listen in the early Sixties as to what was going to happen if they continued to follow the Wisconsin GOP. When President Carter put a embargo on any and all Ag Sales to Russia,that sealed out Wisconsin Rural Democratic fate for decades.

Hate Radio as well as Right Wing control of the Print Media just sealed the deal for the GOP.

Wisconsin Dairy today would look like the Dairy Industry in Quebec Canada,but all efforts were met with that is a Commie socialist plan to control supply with demand. Ike and Friends made sure we did not get our Dairy Farmers Organized. One of the main Reasons I and several others walked away in 1960's,we could see this coming. Sad to say it did.

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Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Original post)

Sun Dec 1, 2019, 03:39 PM

7. Family farms are disappearing and this is a good thing

http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/06/america-loves-the-idea-of-family-farms-thats-unfortunate.html

Small family farms have historically only worked in the wake of genocide, war, or massive plagues. Land has to be more or less free for it to be a viable model. We need to kick the nostalgia to the curb here.

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Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Original post)

Sun Dec 1, 2019, 04:07 PM

8. Thoughts and prayers.

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Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Original post)

Sun Dec 1, 2019, 04:49 PM

9. "I never thought leopards would eat MY face!"

Sobs woman who voted for the Leopards Eating People's Faces Party.

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Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Original post)

Sun Dec 1, 2019, 05:05 PM

10. The plummenting per capita consumption of milk is a major cause.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2014/06/20/the-mysterious-case-of-americas-plummeting-milk-consumption/

Small dairy farms are going to go the way of the Dodo bird regardless of which party is in power. Small farms can make it if they fill a niche that's in demand.

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Response to Kaleva (Reply #10)

Sun Dec 1, 2019, 05:14 PM

11. That's what I was wondering


Maybe running a small dairy farm in Wisconsin is like selling artisanal snowballs in Antarctica.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #11)

Sun Dec 1, 2019, 05:20 PM

12. There are no more dairy farms in a 3 county area where I live north of Wisconsin

If you drive around on the state highways and county roads up here, you'll see old dairy barns everywhere.

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Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Original post)

Sun Dec 1, 2019, 08:05 PM

13. Where is their giant trump

sponsored farm bailout. Oh yea, it went to the huge corporate farm that will soon buy them out for pennies on the dollar. Sad.

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