A Corn Cartel Cometh

Farmer and mule plowBefore the 17th Century, the term farmer was seldom used for anyone working the land.

ancestry.com shows the history and origin to be the name of a tax collector – the word ‘farm’ derived from a ‘firm’ tax collector:

“The term denoted in the first instance a tax farmer, one who undertook the collection of taxes, revenues, paying a fixed (Latin firmus) sum for the proceeds. Old French ferm(i)er (Late Latin firmarius)”

As if to help reveal the point, Wiki states that a farmer follows a “way of life that has been the dominant occupation of human beings since the dawn of civilization.” If this means the dominant had something to do with taxes, you can say that again.

In the 15th century, the fellows looking after the crops held an important position in the nobleman’s property and would be known as a ‘yeoman’ – to attend to various tasks of the sovereign. Wiki shows that yeoman is an ancient word with its roots, no pun intended, in ‘district’ or ‘country’, hence the term, ‘countryman’ or ‘man-of-the-district’.

During the cusp of the Industrial Revolution, the 1890 American Journal of Economics records the first ‘factory’ was built for what we now call a farmer. These factory farms recently harvested, no pun intended, over 75 percent of the cash from our nation’s agriculture. Today, four companies produce 81 percent of cows, 73 percent of sheep, 60 percent of pigs, and 50 percent of chickens.

Finally, there’s another interesting link to influence over money and power found in the more modern phrase ‘to buy the farm‘.

Jet pilots say that when a jet crashes on a farm the farmer usually sues the government for damages done to his farm by the crash, and the amount demanded is always more than enough to pay off the mortgage and then buy the farm outright. Since this type of crash is nearly always fatal to the pilot, the pilot pays for the farm.

It’s clear that the ‘farmer’ has managed to remain especially well connected to government since they’ve been able to convince even the recently deceased to buy their property. It’s clear that what we now call a farmer has been next to the money for a very long time. And next to power.

And today’s ‘farmer’ is moving closer to money and power. They’re growing, no pun intended, toward the lucrative and powerful energy business where they will supply not only our food, but fuel for our electricity, our heat and our transportation as well.

History shows us that the ‘farmer’ has been very shrewd. It’s important for us to recognize how close they’ve been to the money all along. We need to pay attention before we find ourselves crippled under a Corn Cartel.