Hi, my dad was a small dairy farmer in Wisc. Wiped out when the large interests got a law passed requiring stainless steel piping and holding systems for the milk. The cost was more than the farm was worth! Dad became a sheet metal man in town.
I think of all the posters, I agree most with Escamillo. I don't know anyone who disrespects the small family farmer. It's just that the super-large farming & food businesses, Iowa Beef e.g., are (1) much more efficient because of scale, therefore can profit on less price per gallon (bushel, cow) than the smaller less efficient operation. Also (2) as they have concentrated, they have become able to easily buy up whatever politicians they need to get whatever breaks, favors, etc. they want. This adds to the problem.
This is not a new process. What was the Dust Bowl but a big episode of the same? It's just the gigantic scale of it now. The abovementioned Iowa Beef Processors are reputed to control the supply of 80% of this nation's beef. Mad cow disease or not, genetic engineering or not, overuse of antibiotics and growth hormones or not, there is no way to affect that juggernaut by selective consumerism!
The supremely large producers have such a total lock on controlling our food supply, it will take notihng less than a revoluton to break that power down and democratize it. My 0.02 -- Canoer