“A progression of laws protecting factory farms from public scrutiny and exempting industrial agriculture from environmental and public health regulations reveal a corporate strategy to turn rural areas into ‘agricultural sacrifice zones,’ ” John Ikerd told a crowd. “The quality of life of rural and town residents alike is threated by the relentless, unbridled corporate colonization of American agriculture.”
His speech received a protracted standing ovation.
These farmers are resisting this corporate appropriation while also working to rebuild rural economies. They’re advocating for broadband, high-quality schools, renewable energy, and the rights of immigrant workers to drivers’ licenses, health care, education and family-scale wages. They promote civility by working against hate speech and for “gender and minority” equality. They favor public financing of campaigns and an end to gerrymandering. And they support reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and research into ways farmers can contribute to carbon sequestration and adapt to climate change. These and other positions are debated and adopted at their annual convention, and then become the basis of advocacy throughout the year.