At the Special Meeting to discuss the proposed open pit mine on Rt. 627 in Winchester, I was struck by the term “viable farmland.” One of the Allen Co.’s specialists tried to make the point that the only “viable farmland” is that which produces a profit.
Curious to see where that viability requirement is written down, I searched the Comprehensive Plan. It’s not in there. Nor is it in any definition of farmland I’ve ever seen or heard. Thank goodness, because if profit is required for farmland to be viable, we might as well open pit mine and I-2 the entire county right now.
Farming didn’t used to be this way. Like any honest business filling a market need, farming is inherently profitable. Plus farmers grow the one thing everybody needs! Yet, you don’t see the words “small farmer” and “profitable” in the same sentence these days. Why not?
The sad truth is, because of regulations and red tape strangling today’s small farmers (see FarmageddonMovie.com); because of incentives given to corporate farms and non-local food producers (China can now import chicken products to the U.S. but I can’t make a pie and sell it at the farmer’s market without a $35,000 commercial kitchen and on-demand inspections of my home).
Because Americans have come to expect, even demand cheap food regardless of whether or not it’s nutritious or even safe, America is losing its small family farms at the rate of 220 a day. The great Commonwealth of Kentucky loses 12 farms a week, every week, and has for almost 30 years.
If we intend to eat real food that nourishes our bodies (as opposed to corporate food that has made us the fattest nation on earth, some say the sickest), this rate of decline is neither viable nor sustainable.
If we are truly interested in preserving Clark County’s farmland for farming while avoiding the spectre of dinner plates piled with industrialized foods, Clark County–heck, Kentucky needs to aggressively knock out the barriers to family farmers’ profits.
For instance, allowing farmers to sell what they produce and process at the farm gate with no licensing or inspections would be a huge boost. Other states have done this. Their farmers are enjoying a direct source of income and neighbors are enjoying the bounty of fresh local foods.
Removing arbitrary and restrictive zoning ordinances so that families can afford to live and work the land is another step in the right direction. Even in agricultural zones, the codes are complex, incongruous and plentiful, making improvements a veritable nightmare of paperwork and expensive compliance.
If we don’t get out of the way and allow our Kentucky farmers to farm for a living, one day soon we will be munching on genetically modified popcorn and pancakes from China, because that’s what we can get, surrounded by racetracks, junkyards and open pit mines because that’s what’s “viable.”
Letter appeared Tuesday 9/10/13
1935 = 8 million | 2007 = 2.2 million | 72 years = 5.8 million
102,000 in 1980 | 85,000 in 2007 | 17,000 – 27 | KY loses 629/year or 1.7/day or 12/week
You can bake a pie from scratch as long as you own a non-GMO wheat field, a berry patch, a bee hive, a pig for lard and a rolling pin. I had a friend tell me once she was exhausted from making her spaghetti sauce from scratch. I asked her for the recipe… It started with a jar of Ragu.
Yes to everything you said on eminent domain: that is a real issue with Agenda 21. The goal of which is to end private property ownership — as long as we own private property we are not controllable.
Intro to Agenda 21 here for any readers unfamiliar with it: http://www.kyfreepress.com/2012/11/agenda-21-in-kentucky-an-introduction/
That’s another thing about farmers: they live off their land and sometimes their neighbors share in the bounty, too. So they pay very little in taxes: little income, little sales, little property taxes. Farmers are very nearly off the plantation, ironic as that sounds. Tax-collectors HATE this.
“Let them protest all they want. Long as they pay their taxes.” — attributed to Gen. Alexander Haig. I can hear Kissinger saying this, too. Long as they are successfully farming US, there will be no freedom from the oppression.
Love this: The Story of Your Enslavement: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xbp6umQT58A. Worth watching every so often when I stop being paranoid. :)
Can you actually bake a pie from scratch, or was that a hypothetical example? :-)
I like pie!
I’ve heard this “viable farm” term before, and it was verbally defined as being equivalent to “profitable farm”, although I’ve never seen it defined in writing. I think part of this concept comes from IRS codes. If you have a business that is consistently losing money, it’s not a viable business to the IRS. It’s a “hobby business”. In other words, the IRS won’t let you have a business that isn’t profitable to THEM.
Eminent domain is now based on a similar principle. If the government has a more profitable use for your property, they can seize it and pay the owner their idea of fair market compensation and then give it to a well connected developer if, in their opinion, the new owner will generate more tax revenue for them.
This communitarian notion that property must be profitable for the collective is tantamount to communism. If we let the government decide what’s viable and all private property must be maximally profitable for the government, the entire notion of private property is a fiction.
And without private property, there is no liberty. For liberty to exist, property ownership is second only to self ownership. And now we have the government telling us what we can and cannot consume. All health care will soon be government health care. Self ownership is largely a fiction as well.
We have the right to pursue happiness, as long as we derive our happiness from paying taxes.
“If you have a business that is consistently losing money, it’s not a viable business to the IRS. It’s a “hobby business”. In other words, the IRS won’t let you have a business that isn’t profitable to THEM.”
I was thinking about this the other day. This is exactly why governments don’t like farmers: they don’t pay taxes. Their land is taxed at a lower rate — although some municipalities are actually doing away with Agricultural zoning. They grow their own food, they are self-sufficient. This is anathema to government.