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12/21/2006

America's Heart

I ve been spoutin off about the decline of rural America. Baitin ya with questions and jest generally trying to get under yer hair. Lots of people whine an raise a fit without ever providing any real answers. Don t guess I wanta run in that crowd. So here goes& 
 
Rural America started off with an effort to populate the open spaces of a great and grand country. I covered a bit of that in the last commentary. Somewhere along the line the whole thing began to collapse upon itself. The United States government introduced a system of controls and incentives that evolved into what most folks think of as farmer welfare. It seemed like a good idea on the surface to support farmers production with a guaranteed payment, but the problem turned out that big corporate agriculture figured out how to bleed the system while small FAMILY farms continued to fail because commodity prices were being controlled at levels barely above subsistence.  
 
Now there could probably be several variations on what I am going to propose so don t hang on every jot and tittle. It would seem to me that the answer lies in a relationship between producer and consumer. All too often big agribusiness has come between the two as the so-called middle man. That person used to be the local grocer or the butcher. As time passed the small businessmen were run out and everything was consolidated. It is an example of the failing of pure capitalism. Nothing wrong with capitalism until it rises to the level of a few lords controlling the very lives of the serfdom at their disposal. So, it is evident that capitalism MUST have controls if the majority is to remain truly free.  
 
Rebuilding rural America means small FAMILY farms. That IS the key. Rural vitality fosters a secure NATIONAL economy. Urban folks need to be educated as to the essential role farmers and ranchers play in the security of places like, lets say, New York City. The residents of that city might think they can stand alone, but take away the raw materials of rural America and New York City would drop like a helicopter with no fuel.  
 
All the ideas of revitalizing rural America have been tried in isolated situations. What needs to be done is to put them all in one place. Develop community and let it spread. Farmers must be paid prices that promote abundance. That is where the consumer comes in. Farmers produce. Farmers sell at prices that enable them to live abundantly. Farmers buy! With an increased population of farmers on the land small towns suddenly have the potential to provide groceries, hardware, lumber, restaurants; service! Each step is a building block.  
 
Some will say it cant be done. Anything can be done! It all starts with the heart. What kind of America do we want? The heart of this great country can sustain and advance it if we recognize its value. Anything can be done and right about would be a good time to begin.  
 
So Long, 
The Cowboy 

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