American prairie. What's the issue?

It is painful. I have great respect for people trying to make a living on the land. If I had the answer, I'd give it away.

I do not know whether a quicker death or a lingering death is the better option.
My grandpa was a dirt farmer, too dry to make money, just a few too many miles southeast from coal/gas/oil to have that windfall, but I always have been uncomfortable about singling ag out for special social sensitivity.

I don’t disagree with your sentiment, but rather choose to extend it broadly. Our poor to lower-middle working class Americans in all locations have been paying an incredible price for the choices of our hyper-educated and self-anointed elite (both on the right and the left). And not just economically, it also in the destruction of many core social frameworks and failed foreign policy as well.

To be a healthy nation again we have to address the shocking chasm between growing up in a wealthy suburb and growing up in urban squaller or a failed small town.

Mr Lamb and I llkely disagree on the details of some of the solutions and some of the causes, but I am confident we both sincerely believe this nation MUST come to grip with the gutting of the bottom 50% of our population we have watched over the last 30+ years.


"Death" sounded cooler, but it really isn't the right word nor how I look at it or feel it myself.

What many in rural Montana are going through, and I assume also America, is an involuntary dissolution of identity. That identity could be cultural, geographic, economic, etc. but no matter what it feels personal, as identity necessarily is. The future of places like Phillips County and much of the west will look different than the past, but I believe there's still room for the rural and all the beautiful culture that comes with it.
 
I don’t disagree with your sentiment, but rather choose to extend it broadly. Our poor to lower-middle working class Americans in all locations have been paying an incredible price for the choices of our hyper-educated and self-anointed elite (both on the right and the left). And not just economically, it also in the destruction of many core social frameworks and failed foreign policy as well.

To be a healthy nation again we have to address the shocking chasm between growing up in a wealthy suburb and growing up in urban squaller or a failed small town.

I share your sentiment concerning the plight of the bottom 50% of our society. One of my beefs with the student loan forgiveness, is that it entirely ignores those who just could not afford a college education. That, and it stiffs the students and parents who, with great effort, found a way to pay for the education. How's that for a tangent?

It is another problem without an easy fix.
 
If people want to understand why there is opposition to AP, new landowners, whatever, then it's incumbent upon them to see the issue from the perspective they oppose. Part of that, in my mind, means that the question of "why do you oppose this but not something else" is less the question to ask than is "what can we do as a state to help ensure the future of family farming and agriculture?"
I don't disagree that it is always important to see an issue from the other side, but in this case, I think most people here are well-familiar with the farming and agriculture perspective. That perspective dominates in our state legislature and elsewhere; it is the controlling narrative, and there are far more people in Montana with political and/or other influential power that push that side of the narrative. We're not all ignorant to the plight of our producers.

And although comparing one thing to another is an excellent way to create false equivalency, when the root value expressed is the same, ie: "why do you oppose one private property owner exercising their property rights over another property owner exercising their property rights?" then that question is completely valid (not because of the answer, but) because it points to the inherent hypocrisy of that position.
 
Such great points and so many things I want to comment on in this thread, so I will try to stick to the main point of the thread. The "death" of family ag is driven by the simple fact that the ranch-raised children chose to move and don't want to farm/ranch. Period, end of story. This was the case in corn/soybean country 20yrs ago (and even now?) as well as in cattle country today. Capitalism efficiently prices labor and at the end of the day the rancher/farmer is priced for his/her labor. The only way to get ahead is to scale up and grow and become more efficient. The US Government (and by proxy the US citizen) subsidizes ag because price stability is important (look at the reaction to recent inflation if you disagree). A stable amount of food at a stable price keeps everyone happy, or at least less unhappy. So Ag subsidies aren't bad on a stand alone basis. The general push back comes when you watch a large corporation, who grew because the business environment demanded it, get a big check from the government. One side blames the government, the other side blames the corporation. Welcome to capitalism, everyone!

The main problem is that it is difficult for a new entrant to start their own farm/ranch because of the constraint of high land prices. UPOM complaining about the loss of the family ranch while taking money from the large out-of-state landowners is simply hypocrisy (to the point I just consider the two the same). APR is the solution to a specific problem - the loss of short-grass prairie. That doesn't come without consequences. If there were no buyers for a property the price would fall, maybe ultimately to the point a new entrant could start ranching? So maybe in that scenario the APR provides price stability for the acres, but the wealthy entrants are just as likely to buy and keep prices bid up. You see the two are intertwined. I would choose APR over the N-bar. But for wildlife, the choice is difficult.
 
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Social and economic theft……….
Not at all my point. Taxation WITH representation is not theft. Taxes are not fun, but are the unavoidable reality of every functioning society in the history of humanity. Just as I reject the far left twisting of words and thoughts when they say things like “words are violence” - I reject the far right’s fantasy that taxes are theft.
 
Not at all my point. Taxation WITH representation is not theft. Taxes are not fun, but are the unavoidable reality of every functioning society in the history of humanity. Just as I reject the far left twisting of words and thoughts when they say things like “words are violence” - I reject the far right’s fantasy that taxes are theft.
Just because you're a leftist and disagree with something doesn't automatically make it right wing or nazi like.
 
AP and many of these large NR owned ranches are leased out to small producers and young families. It's not a home place for those folks, but it's a start in the business.
Well…sort of. Without the land equity, it’s very hard to grow an ag “business”. Farm/ranch operators were commonly small landowners. Now with mammoth landowners, many being remote, operators have become guests in their own communities. The serf analogy is spot on. If I couldn’t afford to keep my house, would I want to surrender it, and then pay rent to the new owner?

We talk about the challenge of “getting started in the ag industry”. “Challenge” is an understatement. I think we struggle with giving up the idea that a new entrant can, somehow, farm/ranch and build equity…someday own their operation. The on ramps have vanished.

Every year in IA the average owner-operator gets older. Rural schools consolidate, post offices close, and roads are decommissioned. Nonresident ag investors and nonresident recreational buyers acquire the land.

It is cultural transformation by a thousand cuts. At the end we don’t die, we just feel the pain all along the way. I wish there was something positive to look forward to, but I see nothing. It is understandable why folks jump on tangible boogeymen. It is hard to direct your frustration at existential forces.
 
I don't disagree that it is always important to see an issue from the other side, but in this case, I think most people here are well-familiar with the farming and agriculture perspective. That perspective dominates in our state legislature and elsewhere; it is the controlling narrative, and there are far more people in Montana with political and/or other influential power that push that side of the narrative. We're not all ignorant to the plight of our producers.

And although comparing one thing to another is an excellent way to create false equivalency, when the root value expressed is the same, ie: "why do you oppose one private property owner exercising their property rights over another property owner exercising their property rights?" then that question is completely valid (not because of the answer, but) because it points to the inherent hypocrisy of that position.

Jake,

One approach is confrontational and lacks empathy. The other seeks understanding without assigning intent. If the goal is to solve problems, which approach makes more sense?
 
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