We are losing the battle for our small family farms


Those farmers and farm supporters of Save Family Farming are passionate about doing what we can to save our family farms — big ones and small ones. But we recognize the reality that we are losing our small family farms at accelerating pace.

It’s true that many small farms have started, but most of those are in reality hobby farms, part time farms, even if they aspire to become a family-supporting farm operation.

This Union-Bulletin news report tells how difficult it is for small farmers to survive these days. Market forces that require ever-larger investments are certainly a driving factor. Not much we can do about that. It is the non-market forces, the anti-farm activists who for whatever reasons they have, want to see our farms leave. While they appear to target the large farms they find so offensive, it is the small farms that simply can’t cope with the added costs, pressures, litigation and stress.

Even those interested in starting small, part-time, organic farms now face an even greater hurdle: the Hirst decision. Like the Foster case earlier, the Hirst decision of our Supreme Court makes it not only very difficult to farm based on extreme interpretations of in-stream flow rules, this ruling will greatly slow if not stop the growth we have seen in small farms. Why? Because if you are a young farmer (or wannabe) and want to get some land out in the country for your farm, you will likely need a well for your home and small farm. Not going to get it.

Those urban elected representatives who like to think they are voting for environmental causes need to think long and hard about the consequences. This article shows the pain caused by decisions harmful to farmers.