Hope Springs Eternal

On the seven mile stretch of road between our family farm and my hometown, there used to be eleven farms, now there are three.
The hogs and cattle are gone.  The crops still get planted, but most of the people driving the tractors come from further down the road.  There should be farms and families and livestock, but there are not.

Skyrocketing land costs, fueled by unlimited commodity program payments and other failed federal farm policies have hollowed out rural America.  But there is hope.  No matter how harsh and long the winter, spring always comes.

What if we petitioned, wrote letters, and lobbied for rural policies that make sense?  What if we said no to another farm bill that undermines rural communities and drives family farmers out of business?

We should advocate for farm payment limits to keep farm programs from driving up land costs and driving out family farmers, and for competition in livestock markets to help bring back family farm livestock production.  We should call for a farm bill that invests in entrepreneurship.

Together the 50 million people in rural America could shake the foundations of power.  In 2007 Congress will write another farm bill.  In 2008 America will elect another President.  Rural Americans can and should have a voice.

Solutions to challenges we face will not come from Washington and Wall Street but from every rural road and rural main street.  If, together, we raise up our voices for the future of rural America, then Spring will come again.

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