Farmers Could Be Crushed by Changing Climate – or Not

April 25, 2019

I’ve been working hard to help hard-pressed farmers develop more income with wind and solar energy on their land. Farmers are in worse shape today than since the crash of 2008, and climate change is not helping.

New Republic:

I’m wearing out. Again.

The first time was around Christmas. For several weeks, I just couldn’t write my weekly column for the newspaper. Eventually I published an explanation, and pointed out to readers that I had just exceeded my capacity to deal with things. I had worn myself out, and misjudged what I could handle.
Gradually I recouped. And I’ve been doing pretty well up until maybe in the last week or so. Because things have just mounted on to the point that it’s become harder. So I need to pay attention to what I preach, and that is to manage my own compassion fatigue.
I serve as a counselor for farmers and ranchers. I’m probably on the phone or on email anywhere from 15 to 25 hours a week, seven days a week, trying to respond to requests for help from all around the country.I only take on the most difficult and unresolvable problems that you could ever see among farm people, where depression has not been successfully treated by any kind of medication or psychiatric help. I try to figure out what to do about them, because—well, I don’t know how else to say this, except that I have a lot of experience doing this. It gets me going.

But the two calls I got today—those just wore me out emotionally.

The first came from a lady whose lover—and I say lover, because both he and she are divorced—is a large farmer. And he’s been told by creditors that he has to negotiate the sale or disposal of some of his farm assets, or they’ll shut him down. He said, I will not go to mediation or court, I’ll kill myself before I have to do that. I will lose. I can’t do this. So she called me in desperation. And we conferred several times to figure out what she can do. 

Jeff Berardelli’s story on this spring’s catastrophic midwest flooding starts at 2:58 below.

The second call came from another farmer. She told me she was desperate, because she didn’t know how to deal with uncertainty in her farming operation. Her email said—I’ll read it to you:
Thank you Dr. Rosmann for getting back to me. I am desperate. The financial strains of the farm are hard to take. Everything is compounded by my emotions….

I experienced a trauma two and a half years ago and I can’t get past it. My brother, with whom I worked on our family farm, committed suicide while I was visiting him in front of me. My husband says I’m changing, and I know I am. It also affects how we interact.
So this woman is looking to me about how to continue, and maybe even gauging whether she needs to join her brother. There is, unfortunately, a contagious effect of suicide.
So that one has taken a lot of time. I responded several times yesterday and tried to call her and did speak for a little bit. She’s pretty brittle. So I contacted another person who lost her husband to suicide, and this woman is willing to talk with the person whose brother ended his life, and to try to offer some hope and options. So I’m hoping we have stopped her from doing something drastic. We just don’t know.

Inside Climate News:

The Farm Bureau is among the most potent political forces in Washington, skillfully parlaying the American farmer into an enduring influence machine. Its agenda encompasses taxes and trade, health insurance and school lunches. The group’s lobbying also touches many environmental issues: water pollution, fracking, biofuels and biodiversity. Conservative to the core, it mirrors the Trump administration’s ideology almost perfectly.

Nowhere do their agendas align more completely—and with more profound consequences—than on the challenge of climate change.
Both oppose any binding international, federal or local actionthat would regulate the emissions of greenhouse gases, or impose a market price or tax on them. Both refuse to embrace the core tenets of climate science.
And on those points, the Farm Bureau rarely compromises.
“They’re like the NRA,” said Andrew Holland, who worked for former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska. Like the gun lobby, the Farm Bureau derives its clout from member activism. “They get their members ginned up about something and then they call the Hill.”

For decades, the Farm Bureau has derailed climate action, deploying its political apparatus and 6 million members in a forceful alliance with conservative groups and the fossil fuel industry.
It calls itself the “voice” of American agriculture, but the Farm Bureau has left its own members ill-prepared to cope with intensifying droughts, rain, heat and storms that threaten their livelihoods. The group’s agenda has blocked farmers’ opportunity to benefit from the agricultural transformation the climate crisis demands.

9 Responses to “Farmers Could Be Crushed by Changing Climate – or Not”

  1. rsmurf Says:

    Unregulated capitalism killing all of us!

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Finally, smurfy said something i can agree with! And although it’s a short sentence and slightly ungrammatical, like most of those found in his communications to us, it DOES have TWO impressive multisyllabic words. Way to go, smurfy!

    • J4Zonian Says:

      Undiagnosed, untreated Wetiko disease (attachment disorders, trauma-triggered addiction, malignant narcissism…) causing capitalism (and Soviet-style communism) and all our other problems, killing all of us.

  2. jerry falwell Says:

    Millions of farmers and somehow two hard luck cases of people borrowing money they should not have making them bankrupt is supposed to represent all farmers?

  3. redskylite Says:

    Farmers provide food and nutrition for each of our nations and if lucky can also export surpluses at lucrative profit. They also have significant political weight and influence elections.

    Indian farmer suicides and migration to cities in some Indian states have been widely reported, will affect the ongoing election there.

    Australian farmers are suffering in the prolonged drought, and stirring for action and help.

    US farmers have been disrupted by the extremes encountered recently and reportedly are struggling, especially in the mid-west.

    Deeply conservative or not the politicians ignore them at their peril, and we all have to eat.

    In my home country, the reality of Climate Change was finally sunk in to the very sceptical and conservative farming community.

    Lets see how they vote and how much weight they really have – hopefully they will choose wisely and we will not end up eating turnips in a world like a recently published eerie and depressing futuristic novel.

    I hope and pray they do.

    Life within The Wall keeps The Others at bay

    “Lanchester might be writing of an imagined future, but there are striking parallels with today’s labour market in the UK and elsewhere. And of course the book appears at a time when countries seem to be increasingly turning in on themselves: walls and other barriers are not going up just in the US.”

  4. redskylite Says:

    The Guardian Sat 27 Apr 2019 09.00 BST (deniers turn away)

    Breadbasket of the U.S.A

    US farmers count cost of catastrophic ‘bomb cyclone’ in midwest

    With grain stores ruined and many fields still under water from last month’s extreme weather, producers are facing devastating losses

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