Now that small farmers have done the hard work of proving consumers will pay for organic crops and humanely raised meat, factory farms are stepping in to reap the rewards. It’s a story as old as farming itself.
Every story of agriculture begins with hard work and individual sacrifice. It’s always been that way. In the beginning, Adam and Eve were given a garden filled with food. But, maybe because they had not worked or sacrificed something of themselves, they didn’t really appreciate what they had.
Then a low-down snake in the grass got them kicked off the farm.
Family farmers have been trying to restore Eden to its original pristine state ever since. But there are always two kinds of people involved. First are those who build things like farmer-owned co-ops, or commodity groups, for promotion, research and new markets. They do this with donated time, labor and risk capital.
And then there’s the second kind – the folks who come along later to reap the rewards after success has been assured.
The exception to that rule for agriculture are farm groups with a strong history of activism and comprehensive written policies originating with the general membership itself.
That’s why written policies are good, because many times they end up as law. But sometimes, once laws go on the books, they can be changed to reflect political reality of the day. That happens when big money outsiders bearing shiny red apples step into the garden for their personal gain.