01 August 2011

Independence of the Farmer


"Harvest Time 1877" by Thomas Waterman Wood

The merchant or manufacturer may be robbed of the reward of his labor, by changes in the foreign or domestic market, entirely beyond his control, and may wind up a year, in which he has done everything which intelligence and industry could do to ensure success, not only without profit, but with an actual diminution of capital. 

The strong arm of mechanic industry may be enfeebled or paralyzed by the prostration of those manufacturing or commercial interests to whose existence it so essentially contributes, and on whom, in turn, it so essentially depends. 

But what has the industrious farmer to fear? His capital is invested in the solid ground; he draws on a fund which, from time immemorial, has never failed to honor all just demands. His profits may be diminished, indeed, but never wholly suspended; his success depends on no mere earthly guarantee, but on the assurance of that great and beneficent Being, who has declared that while the earth endureth, seed-time and harvest shall not cease.
[Thomas’s Farmer's Almanac]

"Harvest Time" by Julien Dupre


Things have changed since 1855. Farming became industrialized and the industrial farmer of today falls into the category of "manufacturer" mentioned in the first paragraph above.

But there are a few farmers around who are managing to farm without buying into the industrial scheme. Such farmers have relatively small-scale, diversified farms and focus on selling direct to consumers in their community. As a result, they are not so interconnected with and influenced by larger markets and economic forces beyond their control. 

As the industrial age draws to a close, industrial farming will not be able to continue. It is clearly not a sustainable agricultural model for the long term. Thus, we will see a return to much smaller farms that serve, and are dependent on, their surrounding community and region. That is the way farming used to be in the Agrarian Nation, and the way it will be when we return to the agrarian paradigm.

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