What is a small farmer?

rich/ February 6, 2009/ Farm, World/

To hear Senator Pat Roberts (R Kansas) tell it, a small family farmer:

is about 5′2″…and he’s a retired airline pilot and sits on his porch on a glider reading Gentleman’s Quarterly — he used to read the Wall Street Journal but that got pretty drab — and his wife works as stock broker downtown. And he has 40 acres, and he has a pond and he has an orchard and he grows organic apples. Sometimes there is a little more protein in those apples than people bargain for, and he’s very happy to have that.

This is pulled from Tom Vilsack’s confirmation to be Ag Secretary, during recent hearings in the senate Agriculture committee. If I were a Kansan small farmer, I’d start taking a look at who should be replacing Sen. Roberts.   Definitely underqualified for the job.

Below is a flickr set of real small farmers, created in response to his comments, in all their grubby glory. Hey, I think I know some of those folks!

(via H&H)


  1. I was horrified by Sen. Roberts comments (and Obama’s appointment of someone with such strong big agri-business ties). We’re actually becoming more and more aware of the health and environmental problems our current system. At the same time, many small farmers are showing that you can produce sustainable and healthy food and be a viable business. Government should be encouraging small farms, rather than constantly trying to tilt the playing field in favor of the absolute biggest agri-business conglomerates.

  2. Thanks Scott. Strangely enough, I have a post brewing on some Vilsack developments…just need to get the time to get it together. A friend had a heart attack on Monday, so things are a little crazy this week. Stay tuned!

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