MemberJuly 6, 2018 at 7:51 am
Elizabeth and Paul Kaiser made it clear that off-farm income is necessary. She was a nurse for their first 7 years. Most farmers have outside jobs to make ends meet. Economics dictate this. 2007 figures: The good news: Corn prices went up 87%. The bad news: Fertilizer costs went up 67% and fuel costs doubled. This is one of the best arguments for people-powered agro-ecology I’ve seen. Using industrial farming techniques on small farms has people teetering on the edge of survival. Family farmers in 2007 earned $26,000 in annual income from farming. They averaged $31,000 from off-farm jobs. That $57,000 total income put them just above the national average. Meanwhile, the large industrial farms got the majority of farm support payments and made most of the profits by growing animal feed (corn, soy, etc).
We have state agencies that give grants for innovative farming techniques on farms and pastures. Marin ranchers, for example, are paid to put compost on their grazing lands. These agencies have also funded more water-efficient irrigation. Search “California RCDs, CDFAs Healthy Soils Program” at nacdnet.org for links to possible support and to a 2017 NY Times article titled “California Today: To Fight Climate change, Heal the Ground.”