Thursday, November 26, 2009

Away again...Farmers Passport

For the second time in two weeks I have been able to leave the farm and go to another state. For most people it isn't a big deal to get in the car and drive places other than where they live. For farmers it can be like embarking on a trip. One person can become so en grained into a "place" that leaving it for any period of time can be a lot like a voyage to another country. The every day language of getting up, making your coffee and having your morning routine is foreign, and resorting to hand gestures, smiles and facial expression gets you what you need in this foreign place. A sense of culture shock can envelope farmer.
Farmer can attain a passport to this other land by getting others to understand his imprint on "place". The permission to cross boarders is only granted to those who have some one else to step in and carry the farm. Some one who understand the animals, the equipment, and the care giving that is required. Unlike normal passports there is no application and six week waiting period. The process of getting a passport to leave the farm is contingent upon a community of people that are willing and still posses the knowledge and skill to care for animals and farm. A passport allocation is dependent upon farmer's economic health. Farmer needs to be capable of sufficent reimbursment to a community member for covering the chores.
A short while back in history these passports were far more prevalent. Many community members carried with them the skill set to care for animals and land. The divorce of a significant number of community members from land, place and food has drastically reduced the allocation of farmers passports. Mechanical AG finalized the divorce papers reducing the percentage of people involved in agriculture to 2%. As we march away from the date that those papers where signed, and start to recognize and process the trama that has insued, no part of our rural farming communities are healed up. In fact most farmers are pissed off, hurt and angry. The absence of granting trips away from the farm has transformed farm from "place in the world" to imprisonment without parole. Policy can change. Culture can heal. Farmer can enjoy his passport and sleep in till 7 am.

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