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Letter: Is Walmart going socialist?

I see that one of my wife's favorite stores has decided to take a new direction in its food purchasing ideas. In their decision-making process Walmart consulted with a number of suppliers, universities and non-government organizations to develop their goals. These included the World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International, Rainforest Alliance, The Nature Conservancy, The Field to Market Alliance and the Environmental Defense Fund. It seems strange to me that you would ask these kinds of organizations for information on producing food. Not one of them has ever produced enough food to feed a city the size of Hancock, 900 people.

They in their infinite wisdom have decided we in agriculture are doing it all wrong. So Walmart is going to spend billions of dollars to train farmers to be more sustainable, whatever the heck that means?

In my farmer way of thinking, sustainable and socialism are about one and the same. Walmart says it will buy lots of inputs from so- called small farmers who are "taking care of the land and who are not using all of these terrible products that are destroying our environment."

This is the same direction that Europe has taken in agriculture production for over 40 years. European farmers are now so heavily subsidized and have stayed the same course so long they can barely provide food for themselves. Still not a believer? Look at our shining neighbor to the south, Cuba. You pretend to pay me, I pretend to work.

If you support one segment of an industry and not the other, you control it, you do not make it better. This is called socialism, or sustainable, take your pick. It surprises me to see socialism coming from a company that has used the capitalistic system to become the biggest retailer in the world.

Walmart, when are you going to start setting up a program to help all of the mom-and-pop hardware stores and clothing stores you have put out of business in our local communities over the years? Surely they have a right to be sustainable and survived as well as all of those farmers who are not surviving. What would Sam Walton have said about the direction you are taking?

Harvey Koehl