While those of us working in Lyons spend pretty much all of our time thinking about the good old US of A, every once in a while we run across something that makes us realize, yet again, that the challenges facing rural America are often similar to the challenges facing rural areas in other countries as well. From the BBC:
Some might wonder why the mood in the countryside today is so despondent. After all, France is the world's second largest agricultural exporter after the US; it is also the biggest single beneficiary of the Europe's Common Agricultural Policy or CAP.
Every year, over $10bn, more than a fifth of European subsidies, go to French farmers. But one problem is that most of the European money is not going to the small farmers who are often seen as guardians of the countryside. Instead, the lion's share goes to the giant agribusinesses and cereal farms in northern France, renowned for their heavy dependence on fertilisers and pesticides....
whereas 40 years ago a fifth of the population worked on the land, now there are less than 600,000 farmers - and about half of those may disappear in the next 20 years.
Sounds painfully familiar.