The mighty power of the collective

The overly excited pup will not let me use both hands so I will scratch the old girls ears for awhile. Having just returned from the routes to farm summit, my mind is definatly overbrimming with ideas. One of the big takeawys for me was mostly glossed over by everyone save the millenial generation, the burgeoning exponential age and the ever increasing pressure from disruptive technologies will definatly play a part in the continuing marketing to the consumer. I firmly believe that to win in the marketplace of the digital economy the ease of the transaction will be the key to success. The agritourism market is waiting to explode and airbnb is kind of getting the job done, but what will tip it over the edge. There is so much that can be achieved while working within the interactive edge of current regulations that it makes me believe that this is an area where the small farmer can accel and capitalize on their hard work.

A sobering detail I had put together in front of me is the amount of climate data that is owned by monsanto, et al. This is troubling in the face of the current regulatory environment and the sheer neglect of disensentivising the farmer from being a proper sterward of his land to being nothing more than a miner of resources. To explain, crop insurance is king, but the strings attached to the money are debilitating to the environment. The incentive should be placed on the percentage of organic matter in the soil, an easily measured metric, not whether an individual is following the advice of the extension agent.

We fail in the outreach to the farmer when a divisive piece such as Food Inc. comes out, causing that farmer to double down on their current means of production, further becoming a greater target of harsh criticism by the public. At the same time that same farmer faces ostracization by his peer group if he were to make any meaningful change. The consuumer is certainly becoming much more aware of the dangers of our modern food system and seeking meanigful change, but I am hard pressed to believe that we we see that positive change effected by the government. The farmer is simply trying to keep his head above water without losing the farm to the banks that he has indebted himself to in maintaing the ideal of “get big or get out” that stemmed from our very own deptartment of agriculture.


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