Letter to the Editor

Family farmers are endangered

Wednesday, December 8, 2004

To the editor:

Missouri and the Midwest are similar to the rest of the country in one critical area. Whether they returned Electoral College votes for Bush or Kerry, one factor is common to all states: The family farmer is an endangered breed.

The main reason is that Republicans in control of Congress and the White House have consistently served the interests of large multinational agribusiness corporations rather than the interests of small farmers. The small family farmer, despite generations of commitment to the land and the values of farming, has been suffering economic policies that reduce family farm income while enhancing the profits of multinational and agribusniess mega-corporations.

The Bush White House is continuing the Republican tradition by nominating for secretary of agriculture Nebraska Gov. Mike Johanns. Although Bush called Johanns "a faithful friend of America's farmers and ranchers, in Nebraska Johanns worked tirelessly to undermine family farms and promote legislation that makes it easier for agribusiness to gobble up traditional family-farm agriculture and also that provides more taxpayer-financed corporate welfare by way of incentives that encourage large corporations to consume individual-owned farms and rural businesses.

Farmers who think the Bush administration and the Republican Congress represent their interests and share their values should think again. In four years, fewer of you will remain, and those who struggle on will be even more endangered than they are now. To find politicians who are sympathetic to the needs of the farmer, you must look elsewhere than the GOP.