To the editor:
Industrial agriculture, with the policy support and subsidies from our federal and local politicians, has created a dysfunctional food system.
I have always thought if the federal government did not guarantee billions of dollars of bailouts when things go wrong in the animal confinements, or if the feds and the state did not put billions into nutrient production facilities, then maybe small farmers could compete in the food system and our FFA kids might have a chance to get into diversified, small-scale, resilient agriculture.
The control that grain companies, chemical companies, commodity groups and meatpackers have on the policy folks in Iowa and other Midwest states has been complete.
Of course, smaller and medium=size family farmers and small towns suffer.
As Wendy Johnson of Charles City wrote in a recent story in the Des Moines Register, “There are many ways to access local food in Iowa.”
I remember as a kid in Indiana, dad would stop at a farmhouse along the road, pick up a dozen ears of corn and drop bills in an unattended coffee can. We picked our meat up at a local locker, bought our eggs by the case from a farm family and drove to Michigan to buy bushels of apples in the fall.
We can’t go back there, but we can do better by way of what is left of our family farmers.