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Old 10-13-2009, 08:10 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
31,148 posts, read 50,323,277 times
Reputation: 19856

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Land in Maine has been changing for a long time.

I used to attend the livestock auction in Corinth [before it went out of business], many times I overheard old men talking about when they were kids and how there were no trees visible in that area. It was all open grain fields. They would sometimes rattle off a list of towns that you could travel to and still not see any trees, because it was all grain fields. Today all those townships are mostly forest.

I have been searching for information about my township. I have came across bits of diary / journal entries and newspaper articles from the early 1900s as well as the late 1800s; where my township is mention as being grain fields. [and a horse-team transfer station]. In fact it seems to have been noted for it's wheat production. Today my township is forested. It changed.

I am new to Maine, I do not have 6 generations of ancestors to refer back to about what went on here a century ago. But from what I can gather, it seems that penobscot county was, at one time, mostly open fields of grain.

Where today we see forest, there once was a huge grain farming culture.

In my hometown out West, it was once desert. During the Depression, the WPA came in and built aquiducts and irrigation canals to provide every square mile with flood irrigation. And so the central valley of California became a massive farm belt, and prospered. Prosperity drew people and they formed cities. Today much of that farm land has became tract housing. And there is not enough water to provide both farming and cities. So farming is being squeezed out; in terms of losing acreage to the growing cities, in terms of higher fees to access water, and lastly in terms of anti-farm legislation.

Now I do not know what happened here in Maine, to chase away farming.

I was not here to observe the changes. But I do know that it has been changing.
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Old 10-13-2009, 08:16 AM
 
9,807 posts, read 13,686,634 times
Reputation: 8170
oz-------A big unfair advantage mega farms have is using ILLEGALS as part of their labor force.

I have no problem with competing with mega farms, but one shouldn't have to employ illegals in order to compete.

Yes, " free enterprise "------" level playing field"------

To me that means your financing should be legal ( not laundered drug money )
( I have heard of no charge ofmega daries doing this)

To me that means your labor staffing should be legal also
( many mega dairies are using ILLEGALS )


Having worked in a union packing plant from age 17-36 ( great wages,great benefits) it was sad to see the owners close up cuz they could not compete with the new packing plants that were hiring illegals.

I have personally experienced one ag related industry ( meat packing) convert to illegal labor to get an unfair advantage.

Sad to see the industry I recently retired from and my son has entered ( dairy farming) going down that same path.
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Old 10-13-2009, 08:20 AM
 
Location: North Cackelacky....in the hills.
19,556 posts, read 19,544,697 times
Reputation: 2499
Quote:
Originally Posted by marmac View Post
oz-------A big unfair advantage mega farms have is using ILLEGALS as part of their labor force.

I have no problem with competing with mega farms, but one shouldn't have to employ illegals in order to compete.

Yes, " free enterprise "------" level playing field"------

To me that means your financing should be legal ( not laundered drug money )
( I have heard of no charge ofmega daries doing this)

To me that means your labor staffing should be legal also
( many mega dairies are using ILLEGALS )
Well that would certainly be unfair...to put it lightly.


Quote:
Having worked in a union packing plant from age 17-36 ( great wages,great benefits) it was sad to see the owners close up cuz they could not compete with the new packing plants that were hiring illegals.

I have personally experienced one ag related industry ( meat packing) convert to illegal labor to get an unfair advantage.

Sad to see the industry I recently retired from and my son has entered ( dairy farming) going down that same path.
That seems to be the standard way of doing business nowadays,anything to push up earnings to make your stocks look better,to Hell with what your actions may cause to happen in the future.

Around here it is tomato farms and yes almost everyone working there during harvest time is imported from somewhere else,of course they could be legal migrant workers...
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Old 10-13-2009, 08:42 AM
 
9,807 posts, read 13,686,634 times
Reputation: 8170
I recall during my last year of milking my cows ( 2007)

While having our local AM radio station on, the national news came on .
Part of the news was stricter enforcement of our existing immigration laws.

The next day there was a syndicated dairy news spot on. It started out with the a panic voive proclaiming--------" Who will milk our cows" ?

It urged dairy farmers to contact their legislatures to squash attempts at stricter enforcement of existing laws.

Is this what the leaders/spokespersons of the dairy industry have become ?

Sad !
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Old 10-13-2009, 10:21 AM
 
357 posts, read 890,938 times
Reputation: 202
Let the machines do it, just have to make sure all those machinery are made in the USA.

Quote:
Originally Posted by marmac View Post
I recall during my last year of milking my cows ( 2007)

While having our local AM radio station on, the national news came on .
Part of the news was stricter enforcement of our existing immigration laws.

The next day there was a syndicated dairy news spot on. It started out with the a panic voive proclaiming--------" Who will milk our cows" ?

It urged dairy farmers to contact their legislatures to squash attempts at stricter enforcement of existing laws.

Is this what the leaders/spokespersons of the dairy industry have become ?

Sad !
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Old 10-13-2009, 12:16 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
31,148 posts, read 50,323,277 times
Reputation: 19856
Quote:
Originally Posted by wabanaki View Post
Let the machines do it, just have to make sure all those machinery are made in the USA.
Not sure about milking gear, but for many things [like tractors] it is nearly impossible to get USA made.
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Old 10-13-2009, 01:05 PM
 
1,340 posts, read 2,516,996 times
Reputation: 760
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasHorseLady View Post
Horses do serve a purpose for quite a few people - heck, one of the largest livestock handling operations in the country (either first or second largest, depending on the inventory any given week) is right here where we are and they work the cattle with horses rather than ATV's because it makes for better meat.

As for the OP's concern, couple of things come to mind. You don't need to get the state government involved (though it's not a bad idea) in promoting buying in the small towns that allow small holdings in town. Get your town and county to promote itself that way, heck, get together a bunch of volunteers and do it yourself! It's amazing what you can do that way - I've been part of a Morgan Horse publication that has subscriberss all over the country and overseas for about the last 9 years and it's been put together with volunteer labor and most of us haven't even met in the flesh, it's all done over the internet. You could see if you could get the farmers in your state who are in a similar situation to share talents and come up with a promotion to encourage people to do just that. You'd be surprised what talents come out of the woodwork from people you never knew had them when you get something like this proposed, especially if you take it statewide. In the meantime, you could work on getting the legislature on board.

Another is to use promotional materials already created by others about the realities of living in the country. A couple of examples are this piece by Granite Hills Design (a horsewoman who created it after similar discussions on an equine list we're both on - it's designed for California but it gives an idea of what I'm talking about) and this one (http://www.co.ottawa.mi.us/CoGov/Depts/Planning/pdf/AgDisclaimer.pdf - broken link) by the Ottawa County, Michigan Planning Department (note that it has a scratch & sniff with manure smell just so folks will know what they're getting into). Both use humor to get the point across, and both are used by realtors to START educating people who are looking to move to the country about what's involved. Perhaps you could do something as simple as come up with a similar brochure targeted to your state and distribute it to realtors who handle country land?

The other thing that came to mind is that, for those people who, as someone said, don't know what to do with those other acres, if you were already leasing it from the person who sold it to them, offer to lease it from them. It might not be ideal now that it has a house on it, but it's still acreage and perhaps you could work a deal where you keep the fences up and pay something reasonable and take care of the land for them and everybody would win. I know, here (but, of course, we still have our ag exemptions), people do that all the time - in fact, when we bought our place, the cows that were being run on it were owned by someone who leased the property, kept the fences up, and grew and harvested hay on about 10 acres on shares with the property owner, all for a pittance because it kept the taxes down. THERE is where you should be putting your legislative efforts, into convincing your state to reinstate the ag exemption (silly people for removing it, being pound foolish and penny wise!).
Right, everyone should be like right-wingnut Texas and free wealthly horse owners from taxes whilst raising them on others. Brilliant.
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Old 10-13-2009, 02:01 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
20,490 posts, read 38,410,774 times
Reputation: 23086
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wingfoot View Post
Right, everyone should be like right-wingnut Texas and free wealthly horse owners from taxes whilst raising them on others. Brilliant.
Prejudiced, much? (It doesn't have to be a prejudice against a politically incorrect to be prejudiced against group to still be prejudice, you know.) Funny how it's somehow "okay" to be a raging bigot about Texas these days while still thinking that you have an open mind. It's darned unattractive when someone does that, whether they be Conservative OR Liberal (or neither, for that matter).

In point of fact, the ag exemptions serve the farmers first, and with the wildlife ag, serve the environment.

We still pay taxes on our homestead which is NOT taxed at ag (though we get the same homestead exemption that everyone else who owns the house they live in gets no matter where the house is.

You might want to educate yourself on what actually goes on in "right-wingnut Texas" before speaking about it. You might find yourself quite surprised.
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Old 10-13-2009, 03:51 PM
 
1,297 posts, read 3,158,802 times
Reputation: 1506
You are right FBK, but you must realize that at that time, there was little place else to go. After 1849 the west was opened up and people started headed that way in droves. Even today Mainers head south, but now no longer can the southern new england states support themselves. They need Maine electricity and Maine milk and produce to get by.

Heck they did a study in Hartford CT on one square mile within the city. Of that 1 square mile, 14 places sold food, yet only one sold grocieries of fresh veggies. The rest were fast food places. Even then the one store did so for the elderly population, but to compete had to have fast food type food to entice the younger generation inside.

Its a sad state of affairs. In the very near future (with free health care on the way) people will no longer have access to quality food like you and I still do. But if CT is any indication, where they have driven out farmers and instead grew houses, Maine is in deep poo. We could reverse it now, and we got to, or we will all be eating food from Chile.

As for grain production, I bet if you go further back you will find that it was once used to raise sheep. Back in the old days, the textile mills required vast amounts of wool and it all came from the backs of sheep. Only after the industry started to die, and the logging boom began did their require vasts amount of grain. The grain raised was never for human consumption but for the thousands and thousands of horses used in the logging industry. Horsepower back then was derived from oats. In fact My great grandfather had a store where commodities were traded on "bushels of oats" and his grandson, a teacher was paid an annual salary via oats. Oats were a true currency.
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Old 10-13-2009, 04:01 PM
 
1,297 posts, read 3,158,802 times
Reputation: 1506
Quote:
Originally Posted by oz in SC View Post
Thanks for the explanation,I disagree with one of your points(it is far more noble in 2009 for a farmer to use what little arable land is left to kick food onto the national food chain, rather then be used as an experiment for some homesteaders individual needs) but that is neither here nor there.
I think I know what you mean on this, and to a degree I think more people that can provide for themselves should. I think its absolutely a waste of land to see 3 acres of lawn and not a single livestock animal, beehive, or garden on the place. I mean a neighbor can feed 400 people on the 4 acre garden he has. That's amazing.

But that is just feeding oneself...a noble gesture perhaps, but we need cities as much as we need farms. And its the people in the cities that deserve quality food just as bad as as we do. FBK and I are lucky, we have the highest access to organic food in the country. Yeah for us, but if we are going to curb diabetes and overweight people, we must get inexpensive food to them too.

Pay the farmer...or pay the Dr. That is why I am so adament about Obama's misguided health care plan...it only encourages people to seek more Dr's rather then buying good food.



Quote:
Originally Posted by oz in SC View Post
I do find the gov. intrusion into the production/pricing of milk(or almost anything) troubling but it does keep the price high enough to make it worthwhile to the farmers.
You kind of have that backwards. They are so slow, that by the time they react, the market has corrected itself. The Government wants cheap food and the farmer takes the hit.
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