Letter: The farmer's true customers
I read with interest Harvey Koehl's letter accusing Walmart of going socialist for supporting sustainable farming.
I grew up on a small family farm. My dad has been farming for over 60 years. He taught me, before it became "cool," that sustainable is the best way to farm. He won the county prize for soil conservation when I was 10. He taught me that letting your topsoil wash away is as expensive as it is stupid. He avoided pesticides and fertilizers as much as he could. He knew they could make us sick if he wasn't really careful.
As he's gotten older, he's gone farther in that direction. Having some of his prize horses go blind and barren from the pesticides in the creek (thanks, neighbors!) pretty much put him over the line. I never eat anything but organic food if I can help it. Why send more topsoil down the Mississippi? Why pay people to put poison (pesticides) on my food? I don't care if it costs more. It doesn't have poison on it.
Walmart doesn't give a darn about anything besides money. They want my money, that's why they're into sustainable food. They know no one will trust them to do that, which is why they are "working with" those nonprofits.
Farmers: I am your customer. This is what I want, and I'm willing to pay for it. Thanks for all your hard work. I hope farm organizations or the USDA helps you find less toxic ways to farm and makes it easier for you to make a go of it.
I know how hard it is. Both of my dad's knees are replaced. About a third of his thumb is gone from a machinery accident. His back and hearing are shot. I brought him iced tea when he and my brother were putting up hay at 9 p.m. in the summer. He helped deliver calves in the middle of the night in winter. I know it is really, really hard. But we can't go on like this. We are not your enemies. We are your customers.
Andrea K. Jacob